Scibak, Kulik to marshal Polish Day Parade in Northampton Monday

  • The grand marshals of Monday’s 32nd annual Pulaski Day Parade in Northampton will be state representatives John Scibak, center, D-South Hadley, and Stephen Kulik, right, D-Worthington. They will be marshals a year after the late Rep. Peter Kocot, left, D-Northampton, served in that role. Kocot died in February. “We have been called the three amigos, the three Polish amigos,” Kulik said. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/5/2018 6:05:56 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Two veteran lawmakers of Polish heritage will be the co-grand marshal’s of the 32nd annual Pulaski Day Parade in Northampton on Monday.

Rep. John Scibak, D-South Hadley, and Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, are both retiring at the end of their terms and chose not to run for re-election this year.

“It’s a great honor,” said Kulik, on his selection.

“Doing it with Steve makes it doubly special,” said Scibak.

The parade will start at the former St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church on King Street at 11 a.m., following a 10 a.m. memorial mass at the church. The parade will make its way to Pulaski Park downtown, where a program with speakers will be held.

In addition to honoring Casimir Pulaski, the revolutionary war hero known as the father of American cavalry, this year’s parade will also honor the 100th anniversary of Polish independence following World War I, Polish Heritage Month and the contributions of Scibak and Kulik.

Kulik said he’s been going to the parade for a number of years.

“It’s always inspiring,” he said.

He also said that receiving this honor is a capstone to his legislative career.

“It came as a complete surprise,” said Kulik, on whether he had expected to be named.

Scibak said that he goes to the Northampton Pulaski Day Parade when it doesn’t conflict with an event in his own district.

“The district always comes first,” said Scibak.

He also said that he’d been surprised to be named grand marshal.

Last year’s grand marshal was Rep. Peter Kocot, D-Northampton, who died in February. He, Scibak and Kulik were all friends and colleagues.

“I’ve been thinking about him a lot,” said Kulik, who said that Kocot was honored by and enjoyed the distinction of being grand marshal. “He’ll be in my thoughts on Monday.”

Scibak said that serving as grand marshal the year after Kocot is a great honor.

Kulik, whose paternal grandparents immigrated from Poland to the Boston area about 100 years ago, said that he, Kocot and Scibak had a title as a unit.

“We have been called the three amigos, the three Polish amigos,” said Kulik.

Scibak said that they got the name after they were honored in 2005 by the Massachusetts Municipal Association to secure more funding for education.

Scibak serves on the Special Commission to Preserve Polish Heritage In the Pioneer Valley, which he referred to as “one of Peter’s babies.” The commission is ready to release its report.

Scibak grew up in a Woonsocket, Rhode Island, when it had a strong Polish community.

“Sometimes people just take it for granted,” said Scibak, on Polish heritage, noting the disappearance of Polish neighborhoods.

Kulik said that many of the issues he’s been involved in as a legislator have involved agriculture, and he noted the contributions of Polish people in bringing the Valley to prominence as an agricultural center.

He also gave a “shout out of appreciation” to the Northampton Polish Heritage Committee, which puts on the parade.

“It’s become bigger and better every year,” Kulik said, of the parade.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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