Polkarrific Newsletter
DATE: 08-29-2013
Orange City, Iowa, Dancing In The Park
community enthusiastically welcomes and supports the arts year round. So with all this information in mind we set out for the fine city July 17 and arrived at 5 Pm. We were intrigued with this fine town of Holland Architecture. There was a huge Dutch Windmill to greet us as we drove into the town. It was obvious the community takes pride in their buildings . It has a charming European atmosphere.  Since we were early we decided to have some dinner. We saw a restaurant called “ The Hatchery” across from the park  so we decided to eat there. The atmosphere was great and so was the food. After we ate we found Janine and she showed us around the park and the dance floor. We were not sure if there would be many people interested  in
Inside Stories:
 Sec 1  ~   Dancing In The Park  
  Orange City, Iowa  
 Sec 2  ~   Bavarian Blast  
  New Ulm, Minnesota  
 Sec 3  ~    Becky's 25th Music Celebration
  Walford, Iowa  
 Sec 4  ~   RFD-TV Taping  
Many Spectators   Medina, Minnesota  
 Sec 5  ~    Ely Polka Fest Fundraiser
Enjoying An Evening In Orange City On July 17, 2013,  Early in the spring Janine Calsbeck from Orange City, Iowa, contacted Tim looking for an Iowa polka band and a couple of polka dancers. She organizes the summer weekly concerts and events in their City Windmill Park. She was brousing the Iowa Arts website and found Tim & Kathy’s contact information. She was wanting to know if Tim and Kathy would be available to teach some polka at a Wednesday evening polka event.
Tim contacted Malek's and the July 17th date was set. I had never been to Orange City before so I went to the Orange City Chamber of Commerce website. I knew it was west of Spencer. Their population is approximately 6,000. They are a Dutch community and support 2 school systems. Their public school system ( K-12 ), approximately 2,000 students and Northwestern College, a 4 year Liberal Arts College of 1,300 students. This college was recently recognized as the 2nd best Baccalaureate College in the nation. I also learned Orange City has strong arts culture. From theatre to music, dance to fine art, this
  Ely, Iowa    
 Sec 6  ~    Hanover Festival  
  Hanover, Iowa  
wanting to learn Polka and Waltz.They were also doing a great job. Soon Malek's Fishermen started playing a great polka and the dance floor was again full of dancers of all ages. I danced with Summer and Kia a couple different times. I also danced with Andrew who showed me how to dance the Dutch Polka. Tim had a gentlemen ask him to dance with his older sister-in-law who loved to dance, but had not danced in a while. They danced a waltz together. He also danced with another young gal who wanted to learn polka and waltz. Tim and I also danced with other couples as did Stan and Cindy. We did learn while teaching that the people here dance the Dutch Polka. There are many different styles of polka as everyone soon discovered. It is evident that Orange City residents are proud of their heritage. They also host a 3 day tulip festival every May. Their hospitality is warm and friendly. Tim and I met many wonderful people.Thank you to Malek's for playing their great upbeat music. Thank you to Janine and the welcoming community of Orange City. ~~~Kathy Hulse
 learning polka, but we were there to teach if someone was interested. Our friends, Stan and Cindy, were also there and said they would like to help if someone wanted some help. It was 6:40 Pm, which was lesson time. Much to our surprise there were over 14 people lined up to dance. Tim and I looked at each other and said “ This is great”! We started teaching the polka and more interested people showed up to learn. I soon realized this is what their city website was talking about...citizens in Orange City really are involved in the art of dancing! I even had 2 young 10 year old girls, Summer and Kia, wanting to learn Polka and Waltz. They were also doing a great job. Soon Malek's Fishermen started playing a great polka and the dance floor was full of dancers of all ages. We were all involved in the art of dancing! I even had 2 young 10 year old girls, Summer and Kia, 
Bavarian Blast, New Ulm, MN – 2013
Sunday noon we got lazy and watched the annual Bavarian Blast parade on TV instead of attending in person.  Then we returned to the fairgrounds to dance to Kris & the Riverbend Dutchmen Band and the Larry Olson Band. The Blast also includes a “Kinderfest” area with crafts, magicians, and other programs for kids.  There are food vendors and, of course, the Schell Brewery liquids are available.  On the Midway, they held the Wiener and we look forward to and enjoy attending the Bavarian Blast each year. 
~~~ Marilyn Herrick
While Bavarian Blast is young, its true past goes back to polkas. New Ulm was once referred to as the "polka capital of the world" and so a summer festival called Polka Days evolved (1953). Within a few years the festival grew to thousands of loyal fans. In the 1980s the festival, whose focal point was an outdoor stage playing polkas til the early hours, reached 80,000. The festival grew too big and great for the city which caused New Ulm to end the festival in 1971. Soon the tradition of a summer festival continued with
Dancing Inside The Tent
The annual Bavarian Blast 3-day polka fest event was held July 19-21 at the Fairgrounds in the very German “polka capitol” - New Ulm, MN.  The huge tent and Polka Hall Building were host to 16 bands and music groups.  This is also the event that features the local “Gnomes & Narren” characters.  Since this is held mostly outdoors, the attire is very casual and “weather appropriate” and attendees are here to have fun and enjoy.  The weather this year was perfect – low humidity, sunny, and temperatures in low 80s. On Friday afternoon we enjoyed Mollie B & her Squeezebox Band, Alex Meixner Band, and Alpensterne.  Friday evening we danced to the music of Brian Brueggen & the Mississippi Valley Dutchmen (MVD) and the Leon Olson Show. Saturday afternoon we enjoyed more of Brian and the MVD and Alex Meixner.  The evening dancing included the Wendinger Band and Malek’s Fishermen. Saturday evening featured the band called Copper Box, geared more toward the “younger” crowd which was very well attended. 
 Heritagefest. Held at the fairgrounds, this festival was a big event for locals. The festival included a yearly drama about Hermann (local monument) called Hermannstraum. The festival faced financial difficulties, forcing it to end. Now New Ulm's biggest celebration happens mid-July every year. It features all sorts of music, including German-style bands, old-time, rock and country music. It's all under huge tents with ample tables and benches at the County Fairgrounds. Plenty of food and drink options appeal to all tastes. Craft shows, souvenir sales, children's games, fun run and the Grande Parade on Sunday make this a highlight of travel to Minnesota! Be sure to attend this festival.            ~~~Tim Westemeyer
River Bend Dutchmen Band
Dog Racing, Sauerkraut Eating Contest and Barrel Racing events.  We enjoyed visiting with the people we know through our dance group and others we have met at other polka fests plus we always make new friends at these events.  There is truly something for everyone here and we look forward to and enjoy attending the Bavarian Blast each year. 
Wendinger Band
Barefoot Becky Celebrates 25 years in the music business
outside barefoot, for the kids hardly wore shoes outside on the farm. Thus, she acquired her name, “Barefoot Becky”. Her family had a good friend, Ed Ulch, who ran a polka band. She spent a lot of time playing her accordion at his house playing with the band. She would always tell him she wanted to play in the band. When she was 12 years old, Ed told her it was time for her to be in his band, Ed Ulch and The Jolly Bohemians from Solon, Iowa.  She continued to play in the band until she was 18 years old. Ed lined her up to play a couple of gigs of her own. This was what Becky had waited so long to hear. She would now have her own polka band! She contacted some musicians she had played with and formed her own “Barefoot Becky and The Ivanhoe Dutchmen Band”. Next on her list of accomplishments she had wanted to have her very own polka fest. So she organized what we know today as The Becksterfest at Amana, Iowa. This is at the RV Park the week-end after Memorial Day. Her first Becksterfest was in 2003. Becky and her band perform at ballrooms, night clubs, festivals, RV parks house parties and parades. In 1996 they performed for The Smithsonia Institution's Festival of American Folklife in Washington, DC. Becky has 10 recordings available with the latest CD labed “Road Trip Special”. There are always cd's available at their performances so you can take home some of their special tunes to enjoy!                                      ~~~Kathy Hulse
Becky's Crew Of Musicians
  On August 3, 2013, Becky Livermore celebrated 25 years of performing polka music with her Ivanhoe Dutchmen Band. The celebration was held at the Ponderosa Ballroom at Walford, Iowa. It was a spectacular 5 piece performance. The attending crowd of 200 was packed full of energy and ready for their afternoon of dancing. Barefoot Becky's interest in music began when her mom and dad would take the family to dances at Swisher, Iowa. Becky loved to dance, but she also enjoyed sitting, watching and listening to the music. Becky took her first accordion lesson when she was 10 years old. Her teacher was an older lady, Esther, who charged her only a dollar for a lesson. Becky grew very fond of Esther over the years. She and her mom would often eat dinner with Esther before her lesson to spend more time with her. Her mom even kept a garden there and Becky mowed Esther's yard for her. Becky loved the accordion and would practice for hours each day. She sometimes went outdoors to get away from the siblings complaining of too much noise. She would go
Singing Solo
Cake For Everyone
Mollie "B" RFD-TV Polka Party Taping
introduced them as a Czech Band from Garner, Iowa. They played fantastic polkas that filled the floor with all the polka dancers. Mollie interviewed some of the band members and then at the break time she also interviewed a couple members from the audience. Dale Dahem & The Polka Beats took the stage next. Dale has 2 sons who also play with the band. This band really sounded great. It was great seeing young people enjoying themselves while they entertained their audience with polka music. The other great polka bands there for the taping were Chuck Thiel & the Jolly Ramblers, The Leon Olson Show, Gary's Ridgeland Dutchmen, Karl & the Country Dutchmen and Kris & the Riverbend Dutchmen. Needless to say the dance floor was full of dancers for every song played by each of these fantastic bands. Mollie was gearing the Sunday show toward the parents and their children. She is doing a tremendous
Mollie Introducing On Stage
The Polka Beats
The Mollie B Polka Party had their taping August 8-11, 2013 in Medina, Minnesota. It was filmed at the Medina Entertainment Center. I was able to attend the Thursday, August 8th, taping, along with at least 1,000 other people. I arrived on the grounds at noon. There was a very long line of people waiting to get into the taping. The line ran from one

On The Bus, In Route
job with supporting polka bands and encouraging people of all ages to enjoy polka music. It is great to dance polka, but it is also fun to listen to the music if you are unable to dance. As one little girl Mollie interviewed said, “ Dancing polka is Polkarrific”!
Lots Of Dancers
end of the parking lot and wrapped around to the other end of the lot. People were enduring the wait as cheerfully as could be. At last it was 1Pm and they opened the door and started to take tickets. Needless to say if you did not have a prepaid ticket you were not able to get in. It was a complete sellout for the day. The taping started at 2Pm with Malek's Fishermen Band. Mollie
~~~Kathy Hulse
Lots Of Polkas
Ely Polka Fest Fundraiser
 chips and ice cream floats. There was a Bounce House and face Painting for the kids. Barefoot Becky started playing at 1Pm. They first had a kid's prize winning music number game, followed by the adult prize winning music game. Then Becky started playing her polkas. The dance floor soon filled up with energetic dancers. Pastor Erika was also dancing with her young daughter. Everyone was having a fun time dancing or watching others dance.                                  ~~~Kathy Hulse
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Cake Walk For The Kids
The Annual Ely Polka festival was held Sunday, August 18, 2013, at Ely, Iowa. This was a fundraiser for the St. Luke's child protection center. There was music by Barefoot Becky & The Ivanhoe Dutchmen.   It was sponsored by St. John Lutheran Church. The meal was served 11:45Am-1Pm. There was brats or hot dogs, baked beans,
Plenty Of Dancing
Hanover Festival
hot sun while the open sides let in the welcome breezes.  The wooden dance floor was plenty large enough for all the dancers.  Admission included access to all the day’s “farm” activities – blacksmith forging demonstration, sheep shearing, rope making-spinning-wood carving-rope making-rug weaving-corn shelling-hand corn picking demonstrations, tour of restored vintage home, mill house equipment, old farm machinery, corn growing and early harvest memorabilia, rug weaving demo, treadle sewing machine demo, petting zoo, etc.  There was a good crowd including dancers and also those just listening to and enjoying the music, food, and events. This was the 17th year for this festival and there are still a lot of  people who are not aware of the event.  It is always the 4th Sunday in August (noon to 7PM) and definitely worth including in your list of “festivals to attend.”   
~~~Marilyn Herrick
Paul Enjoying The Dance
On August 25, several of us from central Iowa traveled to the little NW Iowa town of Hanover to the Hanover Historical Village area at the corner of Highways M27 and C65.  There we were treated to a full afternoon of good dancing music by Maleks Fishermen band and Kris & The Riverbend Dutchmen band.  The large tent protected us from the
River Bend Dutchmen
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