Pierogi are prepared at Red Apple Buffet, 6474 N. Milwaukee Ave., on August 2, 2021 before the Norwood Park restaurant’s re-opening. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

JEFFERSON PARK — A beloved Polish festival returns Labor Day weekend after a two-year pandemic hiatus — and it will be its biggest event yet.

Taste of Polonia, organized by the Copernicus Center at 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., will return Friday-Monday with music and dance performances with Polish artists, vendors, kid-friendly art events, Polish food, a beer garden and more. It’s been touted as the largest Polish festival in the United States, drawing about 35,000 people each year.

This year marks the festival’s 40th anniversary, which means people can expect extra surprises and new events, said Kamila Sumelka, Copernicus Center’s executive director.

The Copernicus Foundation, which owns the center, turned 50 last year — another reason to have a big party, Sumelka said.

RELATED: Jefferson Park’s Copernicus Foundation Marks 50 Years With History Book: ‘This Place Is A Legacy’

The festival will feature more than 35 bands spread across four stages outside of the center, including musicians traveling from Poland for the event, Sumelka said in the center’s recent newsletter about the festival.

Polish bands Nowator, Statursky and Smolasty will perform Saturday, Sunday and Monday on the Zatecky World Music Stage. Local rock and jazz bands are also slated to perform. Visit the event website for the lineup.

“It’s been two years of waiting for this to happen, so all [our] energy is going to this,” Sumelka previously told Block Club. “We want to make this special. It’s about time.”

The festival will also have more than 20 vendor tables and four art exhibits featuring handcrafted amber jewelry, Polish travel souvenirs and more. A casino and free vodka tastings sponsored by Polish vodka company Polonaise will also be on site.

The festival begins 5 p.m. Friday. General admission tickets are $15. To buy tickets and check out festival hours, visit the website.

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