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Annual Polish Constitution Day Celebration at Golden Gate Park
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 Annual Polish Constitution Day Celebration at Golden Gate Park

On May 3, 2009, the Polish American Community in the San Francisco Bay Area will celebrate the 218th annual commemoration of the May 3rd Polish Constitution of 1791, which was the first democratic constitution in Europe and second in the world, after the Constitution of the United States.

The Polish Constitution was deemed too dangerous by the royalty of Europe, who had already opposed the French revolution in 1789. In 1795 Russia, Prussia and Austria decided to wipe out "the Polish cancer of freedom" by partitioning Poland. As a result, Poland ceased to exist as a state for the entire 19th century, then was reborn in 1918 at the conclusion of World War I.

With the beginning of World War II in 1939, Poland was crushed again by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and her freedom taken away. After incorporation into the Soviet Union after the war, the principles of the May 3rd, 1791 Constitution were banned until 1989.

2009 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the end of the communist rule in Poland. Poland was the first satellite of the Soviet empire to rebel and institute a democracy with the help of individuals like Pope John Paul II and Lech Walesa, and the labor movement of Solidarity. Present day Poland and people of Polish descent all over the world celebrate May 3rd as a Polish national holiday of freedom. The Polish American community cordially invites people of the San Francisco Bay Area to come and take part in these historical festivities.

The San Francisco celebration at the Golden Gate Park is hosted by the Polish American Congress - Northern California Division and will be filled with live music, folk dances, original art, jewelry displays, and booths with merchandise imported from Poland - books, DVDs, CDs, arts and crafts, and Polish food. The food menu includes kielbasa (Polish sausage), pierogi (stuffed dumpling), kapusta (sauerkraut), desserts and pastries ("paczki" and poppy seed cake) - and of course authentic Polish beer!

Entertainment will be provided in two locations: the Music Concourse near the de Young Museum, where music and dance performances will start at 1 p.m. and the County Fair Building (at 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way) where the traditional Polish Festival will take place from 11 a.m. till 5 p.m. Admission is free and everyone is welcome. Recommended parking is in the new Music Concourse Garage. Access to the north entrance of the Music Concourse Parking is from Fulton Street at 10th Avenue. Access to the south entrance is at Concourse Drive and Martin Luther King Drive inside the park.

For more information, see www.PolishFestival.com

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