The year was 1975 when a group of friends met at the Crown Restaurant on Main Street in downtown Sarasota. Dinner conversation centered around the growing Polish population in Sarasota and the surrounding area. It was decided to form a Polish Club.

The first official meeting was held on November 21, 1975 with nineteen people attending. The new club was called the Polish American League. This was the first of three names that the organization would be called in its 40 year history. The next general meeting was held, date unknown, with 120 people attending. In March of 1976. The new Club’s Articles of Incorporation and By Laws were approved along with a new name. The Club was now called the Polish American Club of Sarasota. A temporary President was selected along with a nominating committee. On April 16, 1976 John Mikos was elected the first President of the Club under the Articles of Incorporation. In 1977 the Club was registered with the State of Florida as a not for profit corporation.

From its very beginning the Club committed itself to participation in the community. Along with ethnic festivals, exhibits at the Selby Library, poetry readings, and the presentation of Polish plays the Club organized a choir and a dance group. A piano competition was offered to serious students of the piano. The Scholarship committee sought students of Polish extraction to apply their knowledge of Poland and its history for a college stipend.

With a new administration in 2002 came a new name: The Polish-American Association of Sarasota. The involvement of the organization has always stressed the achievements of Poland, its people, its history and its rich culture. Yearly classical music concerts present the great composers of Poland. Pianists, singers, violinists have graced the stage of Holley Hall in Sarasota. The winner of the National Chopin Competition held every five years in Miami presents a concert sponsored by The Polish American Association of Sarasota. First place winners have stunned audiences with their virtuosity and talent. Monthly newsletters have kept the membership informed of these activities along with stories of interest.

National Polish holidays are celebrated with presentations of their historical significance. Constitution Day May 3rd and Independence Day November 11th are two very solemnly celebrated anniversaries in Poland and by Polish people all over the world. Often the Club participates in these presentations with one of our sister clubs in the area. There are yearly events such as the annual Christmas dinner called Wigilia which features a given menu and the sharing of the Christmas wafer. Carols and doughnuts called Paczki Day is the holiday celebrated in January to end the Christmas season.

The Polish American Association of Sarasota now designated a 501c3 organization continues. Annual concerts are being presented, the Young Pianists are appearing, scholarships are awarded and support of the Polish School continues. It is our hope that a new generation of Polish Americans will continue to step forward to sustain what was so ably conceived at the Crown Restaurant in 1975.