National Geographic : 1941 Nov
Black Acres washed away the har vest and spoiled the plan. In 1939 and 1940, however, festi vals were held to cele brate banner crops. A motorcade depicted the history and seasonal operations in onion farming; and the cos tumes, dances, and songs of Old World Poland were colorfully and authentically pre sented by the Polish American black-dirt workers (see color plates and page 636). Festival Customs from Old Poland These celebrations, called "Festival under the Trees," follow closely a pattern handed down from gen eration to generation in Poland. For the authenticity of the songs and dances credit is due largely to the training and direct ing of the performers by Stanislaus Polenski, former director of the Krak6w Opera Ballet. He was directing the Polish exhibit at the New York World's Fair To Grow Onio when Poland was in- Floods and increasir vaded, and since that Orange County muckl time has made his home the onion farmers kee in America. A Polish band from New York City plays for the pageants, and an Onion Harvest Queen, called Queen Cebula (Polish for onion), is chosen from among the girls who work in the soil (Plate I). Although the Harvest Festival was canceled this year because of the unusual crop condi tions, sponsors hope to hold it annually and to teach people to say, when Orange County is mentioned, "Oh, that's where they grow the onions," instead of, "That's where they hold the races." But when the festivals are re sumed, onions may share honors with other crops. Interested though we became in the land and work of these people, our greatest pleasure has VDlkmar W\entzel ns, They Must Keep Their Ditches Clear ig dust storms threaten the drainage system in the hands each year. Only by constant watchfulness can p their lands properly drained (page 640). come from their friendship. To know them is to admire and respect them. They are individualists who have made their own posi tion in this new country. They are self-sup porting, independent, and proud. Parents refuse aid from sons and daughters who have become well-to-do. They have their original acres from which they still wrest their own livelihood, even though their children would gladly care for them. We have seen many such cases. Landowners have self-reliance, no matter how small their holdings. Our friends were anxious that we make this point clear, for they are reluctant to see their neighbors sell their land to big operators.