Dyngus Day Starts Early on the West Side, Keeps Going Strong All Day

Apr 22, 2019


Credit Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

UPDATE:  Candidates for office in South Bend are making the rounds today for Dyngus Day. The municipal primary is just about two weeks away. 

Candidates are meeting voters on the traditionally Polish Holiday.

Dyngus Day or Solidarity Day is the Polish celebration of the end of Lent.

Revelers drink beer, eat kielbasa and, in South Bend, listen to Democratic candidates’campaign speeches.

The main event happens at the West Side Democratic and Civic Club.

But those who take the whole day to celebrate often start out at the United Auto Workers Local 5 hall for breakfast.

Austin Matheny is the Executive Director for the St. Joseph County Democratic Party. He was at the UAW and says Dyngus Day in South Bend is really about strength of party.

“You’ll see people walking around with eight different mayoral stickers onbecause it’s not about one given candidate. We’re better together,” Matheny says.

Mayoral and council candidates are out in full force handing out stickers to peopleand shaking hands.

Pete Buttigieg is taking the opportunity to pull double duty as South Bend mayorand a presidential candidate. He is renaming streets to Dyngus Day Drive andSolidarity Day Drive, and is campaigning by giving a speech at the West SideDemocratic Club.


The Keilbasa is already in the ovens at the West Side Democratic Club in South Bend Monday morning as the city prepares for Dyngus Day.

Dyngus Day on the West Side has been a tradition for more than 50 years. The Polish celebration of end of lent is a big political holiday in South Bend as a chance for candidates to meet with voters before primaries.

Tim Hudak is the President and Chief Bottle Washer at the West Side Democratic and Civic Club. He says the political side of Dyngus Day is important. “To get the voters and the candidates and the elected officials together in one room to talk one on one. This is our civic duty, to bring us all together.”

Doors officially open at 9 on the west side.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be on hand later to rename the streets for the day and for a speech around noon.