No time for confessions

The official Dyngus Day guide noted the volunteer efforts of St. Mark School parents at the Tyskie Party Tent at Pussy Willow Park, where hundreds of party-goers danced to polka music and watched the parade and fireworks.

With the blessing of their pastor, dozens of school parents and others from the North Buffalo parish collected admission tickets, served beverages and sold merchandise as a fundraiser for the school.

But the guide alerted everyone the parish involvement was limited to the secular slinging of beers:

“There will be concessions but unfortunately no confessions, because the tent is only open for eight hours, and most of you would need a lot more time than that.”

Cut the kielbasa

We assumed Mark C. Poloncarz would attend a few parties on Dyngus Day, the festive Monday after Easter set by Polish tradition to celebrate the end of Lent.

When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo rolled into the University at Buffalo’s Harriman Hall on Tuesday to champion his new budget, Poloncarz was one of the many politicians seated in the audience.

“You missed one hectic Dyngus Day in Buffalo,” State Sen. George D. Maziarz said from the podium to Cuomo, whose appearance was delayed a day due to poor weather in Albany. “County Executive Poloncarz went to 11 Dyngus Day parties and still managed to show up here today on time.”

Off Main spotted the county executive at one tent, where he declined to buy a Tyskie, the official festival Polish beer, during his brief visit.

When Cuomo took his place at the podium, he thanked Poloncarz for his Dyngus Day efforts, which included serving as a judge for Buffalo’s Best Kielbasa Contest at the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle on Fillmore Avenue.

“I want to thank the county executive very much for his work in doing the original vetting of the sausage,” Cuomo said. “Coming in the day after the Dyngus Day parade is not necessarily a bad idea. The way I figure it is, Mark Poloncarz sampled all the sausage already, so now I can just focus on the best.”

Poloncarz press secretary Peter Anderson confirmed the county executive had a full polka card Monday but questioned the number of events Maziarz cited.

“It felt like 11,” said Anderson, who accompanied Poloncarz to the festivities. “But it may have been only four.”

A dogged campaigner

Mary Giallanza Carney, a candidate for Erie County Family Court, looks like an early favorite among judicial candidates to win the dog-lovers voting bloc.

While en route to a campaign event in Lackawanna, she spotted a dog in front of a stopped school bus on a South Buffalo street.

“He looked like he was stuck,” the attorney told us.

Carney got out and tried to move the dog out of the street. After a minute, with traffic backing up, she gingerly picked up the dog and brought him back to the car.

She wrapped the dog in a blanket. The dog had icicles on his face.

“He was just exhausted, so he fell asleep in my lap,” she said.

As her friend Rachel Kranitz McPhee drove, Carney called around to try to find a place to care for the dog.

An animal hospital on Ellicott Street declined to take him. McPhee ran into the Washington Market to buy some cooked chicken breast.

“He inhaled it,” Carney said.

McPhee and Carney drove to the SPCA Serving Erie County in the Town of Tonawanda to drop off the terrier mix.

He’s now with a Niagara Falls foster family, and they intend to adopt him once his kennel cough clears up.

As for Carney, who spent three hours with the dog, she’s not worried about missing the campaign event.

“If you see somebody in trouble, you’ve got to stop to help them, even if they’ve got four legs,” she said.

By Patrick Lakamp, with contributions from Jane Kwiatkowski and Stephen T. Watson