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Published on Aug 28, 2012
PLYMOUTH - Past the judges' table they came, tray after tray of smoked and fresh kielbasa from this year's contestants in the Plymouth Alive Kielbasa Festival, hoping for a piece of local sausage history.
A Christmas tree, town scene, winter wonderland with snowmen fishing for real fish, Olympic rings, swing set, sausage mine and guillotine scene - all crafted from smoked kielbasa - made their way past the audience and judges. The fresh kielbasa, in less whimsical arrangements, had its turn on the dance floor, as Plymouth Alive President Terry Womelsdorf put it.
Then came the judging, the polka music, the questionable jokes, the giant dancing sausage, and finally, the verdict.
The winner of the fresh kielbasa crown: Bosak's Choice Meats, leaving with their 10th crown after a year with no trophies. Just one point separated their entry from the arrangement by Tarnowski's Kielbasa. The winner of the smoked kielbasa contest: Komensky's Market, last year's fresh champion.
In a competition that starts with a beauty contest before it becomes a taste test of products that haven't changed in years, presentation can be persnickety, said the contest winners.
"The whole idea is when they get your platter out, the audience goes 'Ooh, aah,'" said Gail Bosak, a co-owner of Bosak's. "You want to impress. But the taste and texture never change."
Kielbasa are judged on presentation, taste and texture, but gobbled down at the festival mostly for their taste, said Brenda Sepelyak, a co-owner of Komensky's.
"I heard from judges that the presentation doesn't count for all that much. When you get a good piece of kielbasa, that's what matters to them," Sepelyak said.
Since the contest's exception, Janet Franchella has held it in the back room of Franchella's Restaurant and Pub. In a few weeks, the bar will belong to Dorothy Kollar, who wants to keep the competition in the place where it's always been.
Plymouth Alive would love to keep the contest there, said Womelsdorf, but if it keeps growing, he said, the organizers might eventually look for a bigger venue.