CLEVELAND - Now that St. Patrick's Day festivities have passed, northeast Ohioans are looking forward Dyngus Day -- and preparations are well under way for the annual Polish party.
The third annual Cleveland Dyngus Day will be celebrated this year on April 1 -- also April Fool's Day. And that's no joke.
Dyngus Day is an age-old Polish and eastern European holiday held the Monday after Easter marking the end of lent.
Dyngus Day has been observed in various United States cities with large Polish and Slovak communities for decades, principally Buffalo, New York and South Bend, Indiana.
In Cleveland, Dyngus Day festivities were initiated in 2011 by three near west side taverns known as the "Polish Triangle."
According to Cleveland Dyngus Day organizers, William Scanlon and Justin Gorski, who went to Buffalo in 2010 to experience the holiday, the 2013 Cleveland party is expected to draw as many as 10,000 participants -- up from about 2,000 in 2011.
Scanlon and Gorski said they have been busy for weeks in preparation for the expanded event. Thousands of Dyngus Day brochures and postcard advertisements are being printed. Souvenir T-shirts and other merchandise has been ordered. New venues, sponsors and activities have also been added.
The official website, clevelanddyngus.com , lists at least 10 taverns and restaurants in Cleveland's Detroit Shoreway neighborhood that now comprise the "Polish Triangle." The site has a full schedule of events, detailed Dyngus history, photos and an order form for merchandise .
The highlight of the Cleveland Dyngus Day festivities is the annual accordion parade through the Gordon Square Neighborhood -- preceeded by the Miss Dyngus pageant and coronation.
According to the website, this year's parade will march up West 58th Street at 5 p.m. Accordion players wishing to participate are being asked to gather that the Parkview Nite Club (1261 West 58th Street , Cleveland, OH 44102) at 4 p.m.
The parade will feature "The Beer Barrel Polka" played in the key of G-Major and will end at "Kishka's Beer Heaven" tent at the corner of West 58th Street and Detroit Avenue.
Applications for the Miss Dyngus competition are available through the website.
Keep checking newsnet5.com and watching NewsChannel5 for the latest news on all things Dyngus.