Loup City's Polish Days keep heritage alive

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Updated: Mon, 09 Jun 2014 10:55:13 CST

For hundreds of years you could find a little bit of Eastern Europe in Central Nebraska. Loup city is often called the Polish capital of Nebraska. As News 5's Kelly Baumgarten explains the polish population isn't what it used to be, but the community has still found a way to keep its heritage alive.

It's been nicknamed the Polish capital of Nebraska.

"A lot of tradition a lot of great things going on here," said David Rokusek. 

Tom Stanczyk is a Loup city native. His grandparents immigrated to Nebraska from Poland in the late 1800's.

"They came down with the clothes on their back," said Stanczyk.

He says it was the cheap land that attracted them to the cornhusker state.

"It was for sale for about a dollar an acre."

Harold Golus also grew up in Loupe City and had grandparents who immigrated to Nebraska from Poland.

"This was a polish settlement initially and then other nationalities moved on probably when I was growing up I would guess at least half of the people were polish," said Golus.

Golus says when farmers switched over from horses to tractors, less workers were needed on the farm. Since most polish families were big, many of them were forced to leave Nebraska due to the lack of opportunities in farming.

"Because of the mechanization of farming 2/3 or 3/4 of families they had to find a job to make a living get married have a family so the polish population of course decreased."

But the city has been keeping its polish heritage alive with the help of an annual festival.

"I love the music the food and they built this up in the last 5 6 years and I think it's gotten more popular," said David Rokusek. 

Polish days is held every June.

"There's culture here and the younger ones even though they can't speak polish anymore they're keeping the tradition going"

And Jeff Harrington is just one of them.He runs a sausage shop in the town of Ashton and he sets up a stand at polish days every year, keeping alive a recipe that's been passed down for 4 generations.

"My grandpa told me the recipe came from his grandma, she came up with it back when they still lived in Poland."

Polish Days runs again tomorrow.