One thing I have wanted to do since coming to Wisconsin, is go to Pulaski during Polka Days. I wanted to see how it compares to my Cedar, Michigan Polka Fest. Pulaski is about 50 miles to the North. We decided to go mid day last Saturday afternoon. Crowds were smaller then, but what a big hearted small town with townfolk very welcoming whereever we went. The population is just over 3,000. The main thorough fare had dozens of craft tents exhibitors lining it, linking the Polka tent area with the humongous Catholic Church started by the Franciscans that the town was formed around.
My trick to get Jon to go was for the Polish food that hopefully would be found there. There was no hope for a polka, he said firmly he doesn’t know how. How you can be 100% Polish on both sides and not know how to polka is beyond me. Oh well, I could get beyond that. We would have an opportunity to hear some good music and soak in the atmosphere.
The local FFA hosted one food both and we sampled a shared mini buffet of pirogues, cabbage rolls, Polish sausage and a brat, and fried cheese balls while we sat in the shade listening to music coming from the two different tents with huge wooden dance floors.
I was amused with all the lawn chairs surround the tent. It reminded me of how parade goers set up their chairs the night before the parade to be assured of a good spot to watch. Well in this case many dancers and watchers set up their chairs so they have a comfortable station between dances or while watching. The festival provided small metal bleachers opposite the stage on the far end of each tent for those who didn’t know they had to bring their own chair, like us. I expected tables and chairs around the dance floor under one big tent. I guess most people don’t come to do much sitting, they come to dance.
Of course there was a beer station and huge plastic cages for recycling the cans. I am sure they are full by evening’s end. What’s a polka fest without beer.
In the evening the event really kicks up and the dancers come out. Besides the two tents, there is a ballroom where contestants can compete. We saw several styles of dancing while we were there.
Pulaski’s claim to fame is one of the biggest Polka Festivals in the Midwest. This festival runs Thursday through Sunday with over 20 national polka bands, mostly out of the Mid west, to entertain the crowds. Sunday, the last day, is highlighted with a parade through town. This was the 33rd event for Pulaski. I think we will have to go back in the evening another year and see what it is like. And in comparison to the Cedar, MI Polka Fest, Pulaski is on a grander scale but both deserve a visit.
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