Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wisconsin Polka Groupies in Texas

This Memorial Day weekend marks the 40th annual National Polka Festival in Ennis, Texas, a town about 40 miles south of Dallas.

The festival kicks off with a parade of hundreds of floats (one snarky reviewer notes that any pickup truck pulling a flatbed trailer counts). The parade is followed by street dances downtown and entertainment by dozens of polka bands in four fraternal halls in Ennis.

As many as 50,000 polka fans gather from all over the country, making this perhaps the largest polka festival in the nation. A chartered bus with a live polka band and groupies including this reporter's 85-year-old mother and sister are coming all the way from Wisconsin. Imagine spending a week on a cross-country bus trip with a polka band. It leads to phone calls like this:

Ellen (at home): "Hello. ... hello?"
(Pause, with background noise but no speaker)
Linda (in bus): "Ellen? Ellen? Can you hear me? I can't hear you, but I want you to know we're on the road ... and I'll need some earplugs when we get to Texas."

This weekend in Ennis. Be there!

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