Here is the list of the 2016 Kielbasa Cook Off Contestants (in alphabetical order)  with a short bio of each one.  After reading all of the bios, you will come to appreciate the dedication and love that these contestants have for making kielbasa and their strong desire to keep their family recipe alive.

Mike Hofner and Ron Smith: “DziaDzia and Busias Old Fashioned Kielbasa”

Dzia Dzia and Busia’s Old Fashioned Kielbasa recipe came directly from Mike’s grandparents – hence the name!  They have been making their kielbasa with the rest of their family for over 20 years and have participated in the Kilebasa Cook Off several times having won awards in  the past.

The Hofner family loves making kielbasa and to keep them inspired whenever they are making it they hang a picture of Chef Gordon Ramsey on the wall to keep a watchful eye on them.  There is rumor that Ramsey might be partially Polish.

If you enjoy Dsia Dzia and Bushia’s Old Fashioned Kielbasa and would like to purchase some for your family, you may do so by calling Mike at (419)825-7240.

Dave Krueger: “Krueger’s Classic Kielbasa”

Dave Krueger began making homemade kielbasa many years before PACT held the first Kielbasa cooking contest and has particiapated in almost every competition that they have held to date.  Dave’s desire to make kielbasa stemmed from his family’s long kielbasa tradition, especially at Easter and Christmas.  David’s paternal grandmother Julie (Zabilski) Krueger emigrated from Krakow, Poland.  However, David is self-taught in that there was no one in the family to pass on their kielbasa traditions to him.  He credits several friendly Stanley employees for showing him some tricks of the trade.

David sometimes takes order for kielbasa around the holidays.  He can be reached at (419)356-6783.

Phil Majewski: “Kazio”

Phil has been perfecting his grandfather’s recipe for over 50 years and thinks he first tasted it in his mother’s womb.  He is very proud of this recipe which came directly from Poland and was smuggled over on the ship his grandfather came on.

The Majewski family all get involved in helping to make the kiebasa and occasionally friends will come over wanting to know how exactly to make it.  Phil may not share his recipe but he does offer friends a cold beer and a shot of Polish vodka.

If you like Steve Majewski’s kielbasa, you can purchase it for the holidays by calling Phil at (419)304-1022 or emailing him aty

Steve Mazur: ” Lady Nellie’s Hand Cut Kielbasa”

Stephan’s inspiration to make kielbasa came almost 60 years ago when he observed it being made at Zychowicz’s Market on the corner of Dexter and Elm Street in Toledo.  Just before Easter, the back door would be propped open and the waft of marjoram and garlic would be in the air.  Old man Zychowicz puffed on his cigar while stuffing the casings.  He would gleefully look at Stephan and say, in broken English, “kielbasa boy, lots of it!”  He says that picture is still vivid in his mind.

Stephan’s recipe is his own influenced by his busias, dzia dzias, mom, dad, his wife, and Lady Nellie (Dutkowski) Gembreska.  Lady Nellie (mother-in-law) recently passe away.  He served her the last of his Christmas kielbasa on her 95th birthday January 16, 2016.  Today, Stephan and his wife make it fresh for you in her honor; hence the name “Lady Nellie’s Hand Cut Kielbasa”.  They hope you enjoy it.

Adam Michalski: “Michalski’s Recipe”

Adam and his family have been making kielbasa for only the last 5 years, but it just keeps getting better and better!  They have taken two recipes that have been in the family for years – combined them- and made it to their liking.  Friends tell them they have the perfect recipe.

Making kielbasa is a true love for the family and they believe it helps to bring them all together.  The more family members that help. the better!  For the Michalski  family, making kielbasa is a labor of love and they want to share that love with each of you.

Ed Mikonowicz: “Ed’s Kielbasa”

Ed started making kielbasa 15 years ago.  He remembers begging his grandma for her recipe.  Many of his uncles would add their two cents and say that, “This batch needs this and/or this batch needs that.”  The recipe was truly a family project.  Ed started off working on the kitchen table with 70 pounds of pork and having to cut it up into smaill pieces.  Today, he has the help of his son and he is able to make quick batches of 75 pounds in a matter of hours.  His kielbasa has been served at small weddings, graduation parties and many Christmas and Easter celebrations.

Ed believes his kielbasa is one of  the best in Northwest Ohio.  It just took him a while to get the courage to enter the Kielbasa Cook-Off.  He and his family hope you enjoy their recipe.

Tony Murawski: “Murawski Meats”

Tony and his family have been making kielbasa for many years.  The recipe you are tasting today has been handed down in his family from generation to generation and they haven’t changed a thing!  That’s because it’s that good.  Their family loves it and they all hope you will as well.

Here’s an interesting fact……..Tony says that throughout the years, no fewer that 1 million cans of beer have been consumed during the making of this recipe.  Now that is one heckuva record!!

Paul and Jeff Podbielniak: ” Podbielniak’s Family Kielbasa”

Cousins, Paul and Jeff Podbielniak, really like to cook and making kielbasa is one of their favorite things to do.  Making kielbasa has been very special to both of them because they very much want to keep their family tradition of making kielbasa alive.  Unfortunately, not many in their family still make it.

The recipe they use came from Jeff’s mom (Tina Podbielniak) about 15 years ago when she actually taste-tested the seasoned raw meat until it finally had the right flavor profile.  Only then did they begin to make the kielbasa that you will have the opportunity to taste at the cook off.

When asked what he would want people to know about their family’s kielbasa, Paul said, “Please warn them that it is very addicting”.

Jeremy Pyrba: “Polska Pryba”

For the past 15 years, Jeremy and his family have been using  the same recipe handed down to them.  And just as their grandparents did, they make their kielbasa with Polish pride and love.

Making kielbasa has brought the Pryba family closer together.  Recently, even the younger children are learning how to  make it and to appreciate what has become a family tradition.  Polska Pryba has participated in several of the earlier Kielbasa Cook-offs and has already won several awards.

If you enjoy the Pryba kielbasa, you can order it for the holidays by sending an email to or ask for more information at their table during the cook-off.

Norm Szymkowiak: “Busia’s Old Fashioned Kielbasa”

Why would someone name their team Busia’s Old Fashioned Kielbasa?  Maybe because their recipe actually came directly form their Busia.  And in Norm’s case, that’s exaxtly where the recipe came from – and he hasn’t changed a thing!

Norm, his wife, and their 2 daughters have been making kielbasa a family experience for years.  In fact, Norm says he can still remember making kielbasa in the kitchen with his mom when he was just a young boy.  So kielbasa making experience isn’t something Norm lacks – he has plenty of it!

Norm doesn’t just make kielbasa though, he also makes pierogi, ogorki (Polsih dill picklers), golabki (stuffed cabbage rolls), and a lot of other Polish goodies.  If you enjoy Norm’s kielbasa, you can purchase it from him any time during the year by calling (419)388-9199 or email him at


Feast Day: March 19 / 19. Marca

In Poland, it is customary to celebrate “Imienien” or Namesday, the feast day of one’s patron saint. To allow the many Josephs to celebrate their namesday, the Church would grant a dispensation from the rigors of Lent on March 19.  Because St. Joseph’s Day is a Lenten solemnity, the tradition has been to serve meatless foods so that the meal becomes a “festive fast.” St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church, patron of families, patron of workers, patron of social justice, patron of the dying, patron of pastry makers, and patron of fathers, is a very important and beloved saint.

Iconography of St. Joseph

Images of St. Joseph most often depict him with the child Jesus in his arms, with the Holy Family, at a work table, with carpenter’s tools, or with a lily.

paczkiIn Poland, tłusty czwartek is celebrated on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent.  Because Lent is a time of fasting, the next opportunity to feast would not be until Easter.  Instead of parading and partying like in Mardi Gras, Poles line up to buy their favorite pastries from their local bakery (piekarnia). Of course the most famous pastry is the Pączki, a deep fried doughnut filled with any number of sweet fillings.   Fat Thursday  is one of the busiest days of the year among bakers and confectioners with an estimated 20 times higher demand for pączki than on any other day of the year.   Fat Thursday (Shrove Thursday) marked the beginning of Fat Week – a time of great gluttony during which Poles would eat loads of lard (smalec) and bacon, sometimes washed down with vodka.

A popular Polish proverb is: “if you don’t eat at least one doughnut on Shrove Thursday, you will no longer be successful in life.”


Get Tickets


Join the Walleye for Polish Heritage Night presented by Stanley’s Market! Come early for a pregame Polish buffet and see Polish-themed entertainment throughout the game. For tickets, contact Hannah Tyson at or (419) 725-9258.



This year, the Kielbasa Cook Off will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2016.  It will be held at St. Clements Parish, 3030 Tremainsville Road in Toledo Ohio.  We are excited about this year’s cook off and want to get the word out early so potential contestants can register in plenty of time.  If you have questions, or would like to be a contestant in this year’s cook off, email us at or call Jack Sparagowski at 419-356-1811.


Contestant’s Information Sheet

1.  The Kielbasa Cook-Off is being held to determine who makes the “Best” home-made kielbasa in the Toledo area.

2.  The Cook-Off will be held at the St. Clements Parish, 3030 Tremainsville Road, Toledo, Ohio.

3.  The date for the Cook-Off is Saturday, April 23, 2016, and will run from 1 to 6 PM.

4.  Contestants should plan to be at the hall no later than noon and should be prepared to start serving by 1 PM.  Contestants are expected to stay until the event closes at 7 PM.

5.  The public will be invited to attend and will taste test the contestants’ kielbasa.  Ballots will be provided to each person who will be asked to vote for the kielbasa they liked best.

6.  The winner, as selected by the collected ballots, will receive $350 in cash, a trophy and recognition as having Toledo’s best home-made kielbasa.  The runner-up will receive $200 in cash and 3rd place winner will receive $150.

7.  Promotion for the event will be conducted in local newspapers, radio and television.

8.  Contestants should bring a minimum of 60 lbs. of fully cooked and ready to eat kielbasa.  The kielbasa should be sliced into pieces that are 1 inch in length.

9.  Contestants should have a fully functional roaster or pans that are set on wire racks with sternos.  In either case, the kielbasa must be maintained at the minimum serving temperature of 160 degrees.

10. No commercial contestants will be permitted.  The contestants do not pay any registration or entry fees.  However, a check for $50 paid to PACT will be collected before the Cook-Off and returned after the cook-off is finished.  In the event that the contestant does not show up,  the check will be forfeited to PACT.

11. Beer, pop,  coffee cake, sweet & sour cabbage and other foods and condiments  will be provided by PACT, the event sponsor.

12.  A meeting will take place 2 weeks prior to the Cook-Off where contestants can ask questions and all information will be supplied at that time.  All contestants will be notified about the meeting.

If you weren’t at Wigilia celebration on Sunday, you will have to wait till Wigilia 2016 to experience a Polish Christmas eve.  The candle was lit at the sight of the first star, a meatless dinner was shared by all and kolendy was sung.  Thank you to all who attended this year’s Christmas Eve dinner and special thanks to Rev. Daniel Zak for reading the Christmas story, Stan Machosky for being MC, Gayle Sparagowski for preparing our wonderful meal, Ken Stein for being our mailman and passing out Oplatek to everyone and Jane Evans for donating the beautiful Nativity statues that were raffled off. The winner of the raffle were John and Sheryl Bibish.

See you again next year!



The Polish name for Christmas Eve supper is “Wigilia” from Latin “Vigilare” – to await

95% of Polish families have preserved the Wigilia tradition and regard it as the high point of the Christmas season. We hope you can join us and make it a part of your Christmas tradition.

PACT is proud to announce that once again we will celebrate Christmas with the traditional Polish Wigilia Celebration.  This year’s Wigilia is scheduled for Sunday, December 13, 2015.  It will be held at Olivet Lutheran Church’s Christian Life Center, 5840 Monroe Street in Sylvania.  Wigilia begins at 5:30 PM.








Price: $15.00 PACT members, $20.00 non-members,

$10 children 12 and under, children under five: free

Reserve your seat today by calling Tim Paluszak at 419-410-6167


Follow the Footsteps of St. John Paul II.

Pope John Paul

Sept. 6 – 16, 2016

Krakow, Wadowice, Auschwitz, Czestochowa, Zakupani, and Wieliczka!

**9 nights in Krakow’s City Center near Medieval Market Square

**Evening spent strolling Krakow Old Town (a UNESCO Heritage site):

St. Mary Church, Sukiennice Cloth Hall, Florianska Gate, famed Jewish Kazimierz district, Old Town’s defensive walls and the Barbican, Wawel Castle Cathedral, buriel site of St. Stanislaus, Patron Saint of Poland

**St. John Paul II Tour (Known as the “Catholic Tour”.  Following in the Footsteps of St. John Paul II, Visiting Wadowice, His birthplace and where he was baptized.

**Jasna Gora Monastery, the most famous Shrine in Poland and location of the Black Madonn a of Czestochowa.

**Experience Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camp and Museum (commemorating the lives of those who died during the Holocaust of World War II.  Visit the cell which housed St. Maximilian Kolbe.

**Tour the legendary Wieliczka Salt Mine.  View Alterpieces, monument and religious icons carved by the faith-filled miners.

**Zakopani and the Tatra Mountains, a favorite respite of St. John Paul II.

Pilgrimage Excursion Price–$3,578

Please call Chris Dougherty for additional information.  419-345-2512



October Polish heritage

Show your pride in your Polish Heritage!  The month of October is a good time to learn something new about Poland,  the country of your ancestors.  Here are a few suggestions for things you can do:

1. Start your family tree and invite all the members of your family to get involved.

2. Review a map of Poland and learn more about the town or city of your ancestors.

3. Read a book on Polish history and share that information with family and friends.

4. Attend a Polish American event and invite others to attend with you.

5. Display a Polish and American flag, a red and white bow, or a Heritage Month poster in your home or place of business.

6. Learn more about Polish customs and share that information with others.

7. Join a Polish American organization and get involved in some way.

There are many Polish American groups in Toledo that you can join.  PACT is sponsoring a pierogi class this month and also celebrates Wigilia in December.  These are two very important parts of Polish heritage that you may want to learn.  In any event, enjoy Polish Heritage month with your Polish family and friends!