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Dyngus Day returns to normal in South Bend

Gemma DiCarlo
South Bend Mayor James Mueller (center) temporarily renamed the intersection of Ford Street and West Warren Street "Dyngus Day Drive" on Monday, April 18.

After two years of COVID-19 disruptions, Dyngus Day is back to normal in South Bend.

The Polish holiday marks the end of Lent, and in South Bend, it’s traditionally celebrated with Polish sausage and political speeches.

The West Side Democratic and Civic Club holds one of the city’s largest and longest-running Dyngus Day celebrations. Club President Timothy Hudak said this is the club’s 86th year serving up kielbasa and kluski noodles in honor of the holiday.

“It’s awesome to be back to full strength — probably not totally full strength, but we’re back to normal Dyngus Day here at the West Side Democratic and Civic Club,” Hudak said. “This is food, folks and fun.”

The club canceled Dyngus Day festivities in 2020 and moved to drive-through only in 2021.

But on Monday, the club was once again filled with the smell of grilling sausage, polka music and residents waiting to hear speeches from some of this year’s state and local Democratic candidates.

State Democratic Party Chair Mike Schmul, Hammond Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Thomas McDermott and State Rep. Maureen Bauer were all in attendance, as well as local candidates and elected officials.

“It’s important that voters and residents get a chance to meet the candidates up close and personal before they make their choice in a couple weeks for the primary,” South Bend Mayor James Mueller said.

“This year, in particular, there’s a lot at stake in the future of all levels of our government — from the top federal level, right on down here to local, county level,” he added.

The local GOP also recognizes Dyngus Day — U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and other elected officials attended the St. Joseph County Republicans’ lunch at Allie’s Cafe in Mishawaka Monday afternoon.

Big names have visited South Bend in the past for the holiday, including Bobby Kennedy in 1968 and former president Bill Clinton in 2008.

The Indiana primary will be held Tuesday, May 3.

Contact Gemma at or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

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