The Freedom Festival, celebrating 30 years of renewed democracy in Poland, 100 years of U.S.-Polish diplomatic relations and the 243rd American Independence Day, overcame clouds and rain and drew more than 8,000 visitors on Saturday, July 6 in downtown Warsaw. Those who stopped by the picnic enjoyed live music, interacted with U.S. military, played baseball and football, and met with Embassy representatives and exchange partners to learn about traveling to the United States for study, work and travel. The picnic also featured some of the first NGOs in Poland who have helped shape the civic landscape for 30 years or more, activities for kids and families including a mechanical bull ride, face painting, and an antique American car parade/display.
Charge d’Affaires, Bix Aliu, gave official remarks, highlighting the importance of the musical program at the Freedom Festival “because music served as a powerful tool to bring about the political changes here in Poland.” Organized by the U.S. Embassy and the American Center Warsaw with support from the City of Warsaw and Dom Spotkan Historia, this year’s Freedom Festival was a celebration of shared values and importance of freedom to both the United States and Poland. The festival also featured a photo exhibit from Dom Spotkan HIstoria on the 1989 elections in Poland, underscoring their historical importance and the ensuing period of close cooperation between Poland and the United States which has made Poland and the region safer and stronger.