It's polka time.
The annual Polish Town Fair and Polka Festival will take place in Riverhead this weekend on August 18 and 19.
The fair got its start in 1975, after the Polish Town Civic Association organized the event to raise funds. The fair was designed to be reminiscent of those held in Poland, and includes a celebration of Polish heritage, with foods, music, dance -- traditional polkas -- and a reenactment of a traditional Polish wedding at on Pulaski Street.
And the Polish Festival is always presided over by the Polish Queen. This year, Riverhead resident Polish Queen, 2012.
Since she was six years old, dressed up as a flower girl in the wedding reenactment, Marta has had her eye on the Polish Queen crown.
When she learned she would be chosen this year -- a traditional contest was not held, since not enough applicants came forward, so Marta, who was a runner up last year, was picked -- she was thrilled.
"I was so happy. I'm one hundred percent Polish, so my parents and my entire family is so happy for me," she said.
Marta said the annual Polish Fair is steeped in years of tradition. During the wedding reenactment, she said, the bride's hair is cut off and then, everyone dances, just as families do at Polish weddings.
Growing up in a Polish home with her parents, Teresa and Marian and brothers, Greg, 20, and Matthew, 7 -- Matthew studies Polish dance, too -- Marta savored pierogies and kielbasa and dreamt of the day she would be Polish Queen. "I've always wanted this," she said.
Marta said she takes her role as Polish Queen seriously. Duties include greeting visitors to the festival and other activities. "I have to represent Polish Town, now that I'm the Polish Queen," she said. "Little girls look up to me. During the , little girls told me they want to be the queen when they get older."
Are you going to the Polish Festival? What's your favorite part of the event? Tell us in the comments section.