Dear people who put on the Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana:
Two of my buddies and I have a proposition for you.
With Mr. Pierogi retiring after 25 years as the mascot and hopeful symbol of your tasty festival, Tom, Mark and I would like to put our names in the pot of slightly salted boiling water to be considered as his replacement.
As you can see from this recent photo, we have the bodies for the job.
We would also be willing to promote your event at other events we typically attend throughout the year, including Milwaukee’s Air & Water Show, the Milwaukee Irish Fest, Chicago Scots Highland Games & Scottish Festival, Easter egg hunts, Mardi Gras, breakfasts with Santa and maybe even the Academy Awards, where we promise not to hit anybody.
Our work would broaden the ethnic appeal of your gathering. Already, you can find all sorts of other culinary treats beside pierogi at your festival. Strawberries on sticks, even. And Hawaiian pasta.
Correct. None of us are all Polish. Tom and Mark claim they are part Pole. And you have to guess which part.
All of us are partially Irish. But at your fest somebody was already selling raffle tickets to win Notre Dame tickets. And there’s a Notre Dame Credit Union right down the block from your fun.
On top of that, Mark and Tom’s dad was Czech. They love dumplings, too!
My friends had relatives who lived in Whiting and memories of going to the White Castle in Whiting as young, hungry boys. The place still makes Tom misty eyed. He wishes there was a pierogi slider, even, and one day hopes to make that dream come true.
Also, I’m part Lithuanian. Pierogi. Koldūnai. Varenyky. Ravioli. Pot stickers. Pasties. They’re all yummy.
More bona fides: We’ve attended Pierogi Fest for more than a decade now, and we have the Facebook posts to prove it. Tom may have even dunked a nun there once. Or we had Pudgy’s Pizza in Hegewisch on the way home. One of those.
How much do we enjoy your fest?
Well, this year we risked our lives getting to it.
See, that darn Waze told us to take the Eisenhower to get to Whiting from our hometown (which is not too far from a Deli 4 You Market, by the way).
We should know by now that winding over to 355 to 80 is the best way to head to Indiana – if there actually is a best way to head to Indiana. Pretty much any way you go you wind up in a traffic jam, typically somewhere around the border.
But this time, we were crawling along, just a few hundred free from the exit to Taylor Street and Little Italy. I was sitting in the backseat, heard a crash and remembered saying, “What the hell was that?”
Next thing you know, a blue Chevy Cobalt hits the wheel well and a bit of the passenger’s side door of Mark’s DeLorean. Ok. It’s not a DeLorean. Or a Tesla.
Anyway, apparently what happened was a guy was driving a big white SUV on the shoulder. For whatever reason he was going too fast and rammed into the Cobalt sending it into our car.
Everybody was polite about everything. The other two cars needed tows. However, when all three cars were off the expressway and after the drivers all exchanged information, the police arrested the SUV driver.
We never found out why. He had insurance.
Oh, one of the passengers in the Cobalt was wearing an electronic ankle bracelet. But he was chill – even when the tow truck driver was busting his chops about it. And even though the crash meant he probably wasn’t going to be able to take his driver’s license test that Friday, after all.
Despite all that, we still made it to Pierogi Fest.
We even took the Skyway, a structure that haunts the dreams of many, from childhood on, Mark and Tom included.
This all proves dedication to the Pierogi Fest.
Mind you, we don’t plan on being Elvis impersonators copying the King. Matt Valuckis was the OG Pierogi, the Michael Jordan, the Tom Brady of doughy mascots. You can’t top him, but with sour cream, or maybe butter.
So, we’d take the Pierogi Mascot Concept (PMC) in a different direction.
We could be like The Three Stooges, but mostly like Curly.
Or we could create cartoon personas to showcase on YouTube and TikTok. Kids love PJ Masks and Paw Patrol. How could they resist the Pierogi Brothers – Blueberry, Potato, and Cheesy Onion? (Just don’t call us bros. Nobody should use that term anymore. Nobody.)
Think of all the marketing opportunities, the licensed clothing lines, the toy pierogies, the giant Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons!
Of course, Ms Paczki and Mr. Halupki would remain part of the team. The more merch the better.
Plus, Tom in particular would be a good Pierogi Brother to have around at the end of the night – sort of like Denzel Washington in Training Day: Do you want to go to jail, or do you want to go home?
Ok. He’d use that sparingly, or modify it by telling stragglers to go eat elsewhere. We can work on that.
As you can tell, we’re full of ideas.
You can also tell I also have the dad jokes down pretty well. And I’m starting to look way too much like my dad. But that’s a different story and something a cousin who’s a reconstructive surgeon can fix.
So let’s talk.
If you don’t want to talk, no hard feelings. We will still trek to your fun-filled event. (Or maybe even visit for the Pierogi Drop come New Year’s Eve. Did a reggae song inspire that event, or did WKRP?)
And we’ll build our own stadium in Arlington Heights.