June 3, 1999
by Barbara Kent
When 19 year old Aquebogue resident Tina Biner was crowned "Miss Polish Town USA" on May 15, 1999 at the Polish Hall in Riverhead, the special significance of the contest, whichturns 25 thisyear, was not lost on her. Nor was it lost on her competitors, Jessica Drozd from Aquebogue (18, first runner-up) and second runner up, seventeen year old Manon Skrzypecki from Mattituck. Five judges voted; Susan Bedel of Bedel Cellars, Ursula Massoud from Paumonok Vineyards, Nikki Klaodnicki-Perry of Tina Vineyards, Pat Puglisi from Puglisi Vineyards and WRIV's Tom Weckerle.
While eye appeal is important, the
Miss Polish Town USA event is not a traditional beauty contest. Connie Stelzer, chair
of the Coronation Ball Committee explained that each contestant must write an essay
about why she wants to be Miss Polish Town. She must then answer two questions, the
"fishbowl" question which can be almost anything, and the same, final question.
This year's final question was "If you had a wish, how would you welcome in
New Year's Eve 1999 to begin the Millennium?" Tina handled them with poise and
aplomb. She thought her fishbowl question, "If men could learn one thing from
women, what would it be?" was "Actually pretty funny..." Her answer
was "They could learn patience and understanding, because women are more nurturing
than men are." Tina commented " It was hard answering the question without
stereotyping the male gender. After I answered it I was kind of nervous, but I guess
it sounded OK. It's hard getting up and answering those questions on the spot because
you have no idea what it's going to be." Each contestant was escorted to the
podium for the questions by a King's Point Cadet, then there was a runway walk in
formal gowns. Tina wore a long, off-white lace dress. Poise and grace are important
because the Queen's duties are essentially to represent the Polish Town Civic Association
by attending various functions such as the Memorial Day Parade and being host to
the Polish Town Fair in August.
When asked how she prepared for the coronation, Tina said "I decided to have more fun with it than anything and not be so stressed out about the whole contest part, but have a good time with it for the night." A good time it was, too, for all. This was a very special event because it was the 25th anniversary of the Polish Town Civic Association. Eight former Misses Polish Town, USA were on hand for the festivities, as were 6 Maximillian Kolbe dancers in full costume, and 14 Kings Point Cadets in formal uniforms. More than 200 people danced to the music of the Silver Brass Orchestra. Pleased by the outcome, Connie remarked that it was a "...marvelous job done by my committee and it turned out to be a gala affair and many thanks to all of the people who helped out."
Equally pleased, Tina also offered her thank you's. "I'd like to thank the Polish Town Civic Association my family for all the support they have given me, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming year." Tina has just earned an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts and in the Fall will attend St. Joseph's in Patchogue as a major in Elementary Education.
The Winning Essay
by Tina Binger
There are several reasons why I would
like to become the Polish Town Queen.
One of the reasons is so that I can represent Polish Town. I am one of five generations in my family to have lived in Polish Town. I feel that it would be a great honor to represent the Polish community that I came from.
Another reason is because for as long
as I can remember, I have admired the Polish Town Queen. Each year when I attend
the Polish Town Fair, I imagine what it would be like to serve as Queen. The beauty
of the Polish language, culture, and heritage come alive every time I watch the Queen
host the fair.
Being Polish Town Queen would allow me to honor my family, who has taught me about my heritage and its traditions. They have always stressed how proud they are to be Polish, and I would like to have this opportunity to show my family and my community how very proud I am to be Polish as well.