Polanki, the Polish Women's Cultural Club of Milwaukee, celebrates 70th anniversary Sunday with dinner, dancing
FRANKLIN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee's rich Polish history was thrust into the spotlight on Sunday, as dozens gathered inside of the Polish Center of Wisconsin in Franklin to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Polanki, the Polish Women's Cultural Club (PWCC).
The organization was created by three women in 1953.
When it began, it had just 25 members. Now decades later, there's around 150.
Members work year-round to promote and preserve Polish heritage, traditions, customs, and art.
"Polish culture is family," said PWCC President Laurie Ufnowski. "It's just like people who come to Irish Fest, Mexican Fest, Juneteenth Day, any of those. You want to learn more about that because you want to respect everybody. It's very important."
Ufnowski said her grandparents hailed from Poland, and when her mother first arrived in the states, she could only speak Polish.
"To see that she went to school, got educated, and raised a family here, was very successful, just shows what America is." Ufnowski said.
The celebration festivities consisted of a dinner and performances by Polish dancers.
Traditional Polish outfits, pottery, art, and scrapbooks of the organization through the years were also proudly on display.
"[It's] very exciting that the organization has survived for this long and not many can say that," said PWCC Treasurer Jean Wroblewski.
The $3.6 million-dollar center itself opened in 2000 and since then, has served as a hub for all things Polish -- including a library on the second floor that boasts genuine art pieces, dolls, and books in both Polish and English.
"We'd always wanted to have a house of our own, but this was so much better because it brought all the Polish organizations together under one roof," Wroblewski said.
Officials said they are working on increasing membership, especially with the younger generations.
"In another 70 years, we're going to be here," Ufnowski said. "We have to do that; we have to concentrate on that, get new members, do new things."