Polish Pride in Western Branch
By Troy Cooper
On the last weekend of April each year, the aromas of the Polish spice palate fill the springtime air in the little village of Sunray in the Bowers Hill part of Western Branch. And what began as a humble celebration for the arrival of Polish church officials has become a not-so-humble gathering of hundreds that is now known as the Polish Festival at St. Mary’s Catholic Parish. Festival-goers from all over the eastern seaboard seek out this quaint little village to hear good music, consume traditional Polish food and beverages, and learn about the proud and rich heritage of Polish people that have flourished for more than a century in Western Branch.
St. Mary’s Catholic Parish was founded and built by Polish immigrants. The original structure stands, and the community’s pride in their heritage continues to this day.
The church is located in Bowers Hill, 536 Homestead Road, Chesapeake.