Sausage Time, and the Living’s Easy
This year’s KFest is stuffed with more deliciousness than King Kielbasa. The two-year-old fest, which absorbed the Valley’s venerable Kielbasa Festival when it was decided the event should be more international in theme, is kicking off Thursday at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield. The four-day event will feature more than 30 food vendors and around 15 bands as well as scores of craft vendors, craft beer, and fireworks every night. There’s rides and parades, a food-eating competition, and something called a “Pickle Car,” but for me the allure of KFest has always been the food, specifically the pulled kielbasa (yes, you can pull a kielbasa and yes, you should get it “Polish-style” with sauerkraut). If you don’t fill up on your pulled kielbasa sandwich (Pro tip: Split it with a friend), you’ll have room to sample BBQ, poutine, flat bread, smoothies, Tots, cheese, ice cream, sandwiches, “coffee fusion,” pie, kielbasa, and more. During the fest you can see bands playing everything from dance, to reggae, to Cajun, to The Beatles, to 40s pop — and of course polka! Also check out the winning bands of the KFest Live Music Awards, the kielbasa-eating contest, the KFest food vendor competition for “King of KFest,” and “King Kielbasa” — a giant kielbasa provided by Chicopee Provision Co., which has made the sausage each year since the event was Kielbasa Festival in Chicopee. (At its peak, in 1994, the King reached 623 pounds and was 27 feet long.)
KFest: Thursday, 5 p.m.; Friday, 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon. $10-$25. Eastern States Exposition, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. (413) 737-2443, thekfest.com.
— Kristin Palpini, firstname.lastname@example.org