Polkarrific Newsletter
August 23, 2012
Polka Association Female Vocalist of the Year.  In addition, the “Mollie B Christmas Special” was awarded the title of Best Variety Polka CD of 2011 by the Polka America Corporation.  Congratulations Mollie B and Squeezebox!
The dance floor was filled most of the afternoon.  The Jim Busta Band provided consistently good music and we always enjoy hearing and dancing to this music.  Mollie B., the host of Polka Party on RFD-TV, is multi-talented and plays several musical instruments in addition to singing.  Along with her husband, Ted, who also did some vocals, they provided a wonderful sound to all the favorite songs.  One highlight of the afternoon was when Mollie B came down off the stage to do a father-daughter polka with Jim Busta.   The last half hour Mollie B and Ted took requests and played everyone’s favorites. 

What a nice way to beat the heat!
SEC 1   ~ Sunday Afternoon Dance  
  Arcadia, Iowa  
SEC 2   ~ 37th Annual Ellsworth Polka Fest
  Ellsworth, Wisconsin  
SEC 3   ~ Malek's 80th Music Anniversary
  Duncan, Iowa  
SEC 4   ~ Bavarian Blast 2012  
Enjoying the old time dance   New Ulm, Minnesota  
SEC 5   ~ Fire Destroys The Bohemian Hall
Dancing At Arcadia –  July 1, 2012                                                                                                                    With promises of another hot, muggy weather day, we traveled to Arcadia, Iowa, and joined 300 other polka enthusiasts at the air-conditioned Arcadia Legion Hall.  There we enjoyed an afternoon of music by the Busta Family – Mollie B’s band and the Jim Busta Band. This was a 6-hour extravaganza and the music was wonderful.  They announced that Mollie B has won the title of 2011 U.S. Polka Association Favorite Female Vocalist (for the 3rd time).  She also won the 2011 International   Ft, Dodge, Iowa  
Through The Crowd
What a nice way to beat the heat!
~~~ Marilyn Herrick
“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking”
― Agnes De Mille
Mollie & Jim Dance
Mae & Rosie Look On
On Stage 1 at 6:30Pm The Leon Olson Band out of Minnesota played some Old Time Music. They also played Country Songs for the people to dance. Adam’s Band returned to play from 8Pm to 9:30Pm. Leon Olson’s Band then played till 11Pm.  On Stage 2 The Goodtime Dutchmen played while the Top Notchmen took their break. There were young and old alike dancing to this upbeat polka music. There were school age girls dancing with their dads and moms. There were toddlers with smiles on their faces hopping to the beat ! There were a lot of people camping in their tents. It was very obvious that everyone was very friendly. People greeted me with a “ Hi, How you doing?” I saw a couple of spectators with their walkers. I visited with them and they both told me they were no
It opened with Squeeze Box out of Ohio. Next, played The Jim Busta Band from Minnesota. Brian Mississippi’s Valley Dutchmen, out of Wisconsin, played from 8 Pm till 11 Pm. Brian’s young school aged son played a song on the drums for the crowd. He did a fantastic job. It was neat to see a young person showing his talent. Sunday, July 8, 2012, there was an Ecumenical Church Service at 10:30 Am played by the
Sitting Around Bandcamp
Friday, July 6, 2012, was the official beginning of the 37th Annual Ellsworth, Wisconsin, Polka Fest. It was a 3-day fest and was held at the Pierce County Fairgrounds. Campers with their RV’s and campers began parking and setting up on Wednesday to assure them of their favorite camping spot. Thursday evening, July 5th, Bruce Libby and other musicians assembled for a jam session. Even though the temperature was 95 degrees with high humidity levels on Friday, July 6, the campground was half full at 5Pm when the music began. There were 2 stages with a wooden
Goodtime Dutchmen Band
Wendinger Band. After the service at 12 Noon at Stage 1 Gary’s Ridgeland Dutchmen from Wisconsin and Leon Olson played the afternoon and evening for all to enjoy. At Stage 2 Julie Lee & The White Rose Band from Fargo, ND and The Wendinger Band from Minnesota alternated their music till 7 Pm. There were 2 beverage tents and 3 food and beverage tents available all week-end. Two of the food items I enjoyed most were ice cream to cool me off and fried fresh cheese curds. Those were especially good. One cannot go to Wisconsin, and not eat some
dance floor in each building. Adam & The Jolly Jammers from Minnesota started their performance at Stage 1. This was a talented family band. Adam’s, dad, mom and uncle all played in the band. They played lively polkas, waltzes and 2 steps that the crowd enjoyed. There were many dancing enthusiasts in the group. It was obvious everyone was enjoying the music cause the dance floor was full of people. Even with the high temps people were sitting with their lawn chairs on the side of the building listening to the great sound. In the second building, Stage 2, The Top Notchmen from Wisconsin entertained their fans from 5Pm to 6:30Pm. They played some polkas and Country Music. They took a break and returned to the stage at 8Pm
Dancing In The Tent
 longer able to dance, but they enjoyed the music. Both said it helps them to feel good. Later in the evening the trumpet player from the Goodtime Dutchmen, Randy and a friend, entertained us with a professional polka dance. It was quite obvious from their smooth dance steps that they do a lot of dancing. The band continued to play outstanding tunes till 11pm.
On Saturday, July 7, 2012, the day started at 12Noon. On Stage 1 was Malek’s Fishermen Band from Garner, Iowa, Becky’s Ivanhoe Dutchmen out of Mt.Vernon, Iowa, and Karl’s Country Dutchmen from Wisconsin who alternated playing till 11Pm. Let me tell you these bands were fantastic! There were those who danced all day and all night till the band stopped. There were more people here today than on Friday. The temperature was not as warm as on Friday. Everyone here was socializing, dancing and have a great time. There were also 3 bands from 12 Noon till 11 Pm on Stage 2.
fresh cheese curds. I had also stopped at the creamery in Ellsworth on Friday and picked up 2 packages of fresh cheese curds. They sell so quickly they just set them out on the shelf. There are so many people who stop in and purchase the curds there is no need to refrigerate them.  I would highly recommend the Ellsworth, Wi., Polka Fest for those who love to dance and who like fellowship. Everyone there likes to visit and have a good time. Needless to say you do not have to worry about exercise while you are there. Dancing polka is great exercise and the 2 stages were far enough apart you would get enough walking time. 
~~~ Kathy Hulse
Many Stay Cool Dancing in The pavillion
Sunday July 15, 2012, Malek’s Fishermen Band celebrated their 80th year in the music business. They had a free dance at the Duncan Community Hall attended by approximately four hundred people from numerous states. Syl Malek and his brother, Ed, started the band in 1932. They played with a six-piece accordion band and called it the Malek Brother’s Accordion Band. Syl’s son, Bob, has been with the band for 45 years. He currently leads the band. Bob explains the band played at many barn dances, house parties, dance halls and played special requests. From the early 40’s thru the 60’s the band averaged 200 dances a year. At that time Bob had no interest in playing in the band. Then in the early 1960s Syl was forced to retire due to an illness. His brother continued
 and snacks available from the kitchen. There were also beverages available for purchase. Members of the band who played today included Bob Malek, playing horn, trombone and vocal, Eric Malek on horn, trombone, concertina, tuba and vocal, Kimberly Malek, Eric’s wife on Clarinet, Alto Sax and vocal, Ron Hrubes, Bob’s first cousin on Clarinet, Alto Sax, Keyboard and vocal, Jeff Langen on drums and Don Van Dieppen on Tuba. The band was full of heart and spirit
Younger Malek Band
and newer music. By that time Syl had rejoined them. In the 1990’s as Syl Malek and other band members began to retire Bob’s children, Eric and Crystal, started to play in the band. Bob was astonished with the amount of people who attended today’s dance. Many of them came a long distance to hear and dance polka music. The music was upbeat and fun. The band played many polkas, waltzes, 2 steps, and swing songs. They had mixers, such as the Water Fall Dance, Schottische and Circle 2 Step Polka. The floor was full of dancers, young and old. What a great way to get out and enjoy yourself. Not to mention the great exercise everyone was getting. People would visit before and after the songs. It was a lot of happy people having a great time. There was also food available. They had delicious pulled pork and ham sandwiches along with chips
Dancing To Malek's
 and showed everyone a fun time. They were out visiting with the crowd on their 1st break. On the 2nd break they marched around the dance floor playing their instruments. They even had a little snare drum for Jossie, Eric and Kim’s, 2 year old daughter, to play. And play she did… she played like she was in the band! The crowd really enjoyed her participation. It was neat to see 3 generations playing in the band!                    ~~~Kathy Hulse  
Yesterdays Band Members
 playing for the band under a new name called the L& M Band. Then in 1968 Bob Malek decided to restart the band and today it is called The Malek’s Fishermen Band. It traveled throughout the Midwest playing favorite accordion
What a Blast!

The New Ulm, Minnesota, Bavarian Blast July 20-22 hosted a good variety of music including two bands from Germany.  Several buildings at the Fairgrounds were put to use along with a large tent area – and, lots of fans were in use to help chase away the high temperatures.  Several food and beverage booths were available.  Of course, this is Schell’s Brewery country.  Friday was hot and humid but had some breeze. 
from Six Fat Dutchmen to Guns & Roses.  He is based in Florida and has performed since age 6.  In addition to performing all over the world he also brings music to students with educational clinics and gives private lessons. The first evening brought us the Leon Olsen Band, the group Paloma from Chicago, and Copperbox from Wisconsin which mixes polka music with some Pink Floyd and zydeco.  Also a favorite, the world-renown Concord Singers from New Ulm.  This day was special for us as we were accompanied by our 6-yr-old great-grandson from New Ulm.  He enjoys this music, dancing, and meeting new people. The Blast also featured a “Kinderfest” area for kids including crafts, magician, ventriloquist,
Alpensterne Band
Racing, Barrel Rolling and a sauerkraut eating contest (won by a 21-yr-old German exchange student). We did not attend activities at the Fairgrounds on Sunday, but enjoyed the hour-long Bavarian Blast parade on TV.  The music continued at the Fairgrounds following the parade and included the Herborn Seelbach and Einhausen Musik Corps Bands from Germany, Schell’s Hobo Band, New Ulm Municipal Band, and Alex Meixner again.  Attendance was up this
 German Band, and children’s author/poet.  Always a favorite at this fest is the appearance of the Gnomes and Narren (explained as “someone who entertains other people, like a jester”.  Also translated as “a bunch of fools”).  The Narren have been around for 20 years – Bavarian Blast used to be called Heritagefest. Saturday continued the hot weather but the crowd was even larger.  More music in Polka Hall from Brian and MVD along with the Wendinger Band and Bockfest Boys.  Featured at the big tent were Alpensterne, Paloma, Concord Singers, and Alex Meixner.  Lots of opportunity for plenty of dancing.  Also on Saturday there was a midway area with Wiener Dog
Concord Singers
Music started with Barefoot Becky in the Polka Hall, alternating with Brian and the Mississippi Valley Dutchmen.  The big tent drew a large crowd for RFD-TV’s Mollie B’s  “Squeezebox” performance alternating with Alpensterne and Alex Meixner.  This was our first experience with Alex Meixner’s band.  Alex brings a lot of energy and youthful vitality to the stage.  The music is great for dancing and he puts on a good show also.  He plays accordion, buttonbox and trumpet.  His group plays anything
Wendinger Band
year from last, even with the hot weather.  Everyone enjoyed the good mix of bands.  We hope the crowds continue to increase and this fest continues for many years to come.   
~~~ Marilyn Herrick
Many people remember the day when dancing was a weekly venture and sometimes more then once a week did they dance. The Bohemian hall was located at 2601 Johnson Ave. in rural Webster County by Ft Dodge, Iowa. This dance hall was erected around 1939 and provided many dances for central Iowa residents. All this came to an end on a Friday night August 3, 2012, around 9:45 Pm when a fire was reported. Within an hour the structure was totally engulfed in flames and a total loss of the building was inevitable. Fire departments were dispatched from 5 other towns along with state troopers and were not able to save the structure. I talked to many people who have attended dances or even performed at this dance hall. I asked Al Landin from Boone, Iowa, what was his best memory of the Bohemian Hall and he told me, “Our polka band (Last Polka Band) occasionally performed at the
Bohemian Ballroom Prior To Fire
still made it a bit hard to hear ourselves properly on stage because of the strong sound reflection from the rear wall of the ballroom that would mix with the live sound on stage. It was hard to set volume levels so that it was not too loud for the audience, but high enough to override the reflected echo from the rear wall of the ballroom. But the audiences were always enthusiastic, and seemed to enjoy everything we tried. My last performance at the Bohemian Hall was with Jesse and the Medicine Men; a country/western band. Jesse asked if I would join him on stage to give his band a sound like some of the original western-swing bands that also included an accordion. (Remember Smiley Burnette and many others?) We all had a great time not knowing this would be our last performance at that beautiful, history-laden dance hall. “ Jerry Beauchamp also said he used to play there at least once a month. He said the best thing about the ballroom was the dancing people and the floor. He said there was no better in the State. Many of us will miss this grand old landmark.

~~~Tim Westemeyer
Bohemian Hall from the late 1980s until a few years ago. I remember that in those early days, it was mandatory that we played the Waltz Quadrille at the same time just before the break during each performance on Sunday nights. After playing that song...we all were READY for a break; band members and dancers alike. After the Bohemian Hall ownership changed, we happily were relieved of having to do the Waltz Quadrille. The ballroom was remodeled and utilities on stage for the band were much improved. But the acoustics
Fire Guts the Structure
Remember that dance has a dimension beyond the physical. The body-as imperfect as it always is-is only part of the picture. Your energy, the quality of your movement, your feeling about the world, your dance spirit-that is what we see under the lights
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