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Mr. Pierogi: Real story revealed at Whiting parade

Participants PolkParade part 143rd annual Pierogi Fest hold sign up start parade down 119th  Whiting July 25 2014. |

Participants of the Polka Parade, part of the 143rd annual Pierogi Fest hold a sign up to start the parade down 119th in Whiting on July 25, 2014. | Jim Karczewski/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 27, 2014 6:04AM



WHITING — Working with Mr. Pierogi, the annual star of the Pierogi Fest parade, can either be as smooth as butter or as lumpy as two-week old dough, according to sources close to perhaps Northwest Indiana’s best-known food character.

Mr. Pierogi’s main sweetie, Miss Paczki, understands the heavy responsibility of being part of the namesake couple in the region’s most famous example of Eastern European revelry.

The strawberry doughnut, who goes by Kylie Temple when not in costume, said Mr. Pierogi, who’s not as nearly open about his true identity, is a treat to be around.

“I think he deserves the accolades,” Temple just after the 20th annual Pierogi Parade — or the 143rd as some jokesters would have you believe — turned the corner on New York Avenue Friday night. “He’s pretty inclusive, and you don’t get the sense that it’s all about him even though it is his name over everything.”

This was Temple’s first time with the stuffed dough wedge, though. Others, like a seven-year member of the Whiting Buscia Brigade, Patsy Kazragys, said Mr. Pierogi leaves a different taste.

“I mean, it’s Pierogi Fest, and he wants to be ‘Top Pierogi,’ ” Kazragys said, pointing at his parade truck filled with admirers. “Our fan club is the crowd, and it doesn’t fit in a truck.”

Last year, Kazragys didn’t walk with the Buscias, instead staying in the truck because she was nine months pregnant and a week overdue. As she and the Buscias were signing their biennial calendar that Sunday, her fellow ladies said she didn’t look well.

Her husband, Adam, took her to the hospital, where her doctor told her she was in labor. Kazragys said, “Not so fast.”

“I told him I had fans to attend to, could it wait another four hours?” she said. “Then I got dressed and went back out to finish the signing. (Her son Joseph, now 1) came out smiling and hasn’t stopped yet.”

Her little Pierogi Prince danced and shimmied with the Buscias in Friday’s parade but next year will join his dad in the Olympic Lawn Mower Team with a bubble mower of his own. He will be the youngest team member ever.

Joining the mower team this year was state Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, the first woman ever to be invited into the illustrious group. And Lawson was welcomed with motors blazing.

“There are no glass ceilings on our team,” said North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan, who was dressed as Captain America.

The Buscias later rallied around spectator Talia Anderson, of Hobart, for a picture. Friday was Anderson’s first parade with friends Heidi Staples, also of Hobart, and Bob Anderson, of Whiting.

“It was a magical experience, a whimsical delight I wasn’t expecting,” Talia said.



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