2006 International Polka Festival Begins

The Polka America Corporation is far from the only organization promoting polka — the International Polka Association has been dedicated to the study and preservation of polka music for nearly forty years. The IPA’s 38th annual festival begins tonight in Chicago and the highlight will undoubtedly be Saturday’s Hall of Fame Awards Banquet. Back in 1968, Frankie Yankovic and Li’l Wally Jagiello were the first to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and since then the list of honorees has grown to include such legends as Myron Floren, Joey Miskulin, “Whoopee John” Wilfahrt, and many others.

Performers at this year’s festival include Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones, Jeff Mleczko & Dynabrass, Eddie Biegaj & Crusade, and more. And the IPA hasn’t forgotten about the kids — the festival features a couple vents geared towards younger polka-philes. First, there’s the annual Polka Art Contest where kids are encouraged to draw a picture based on the theme, “Polka Music is Happiness.” There’s also the Mini-Polka Princess Pageant, which is a non-competitive pageant for girls aged 3-10 (too bad, I was looking forward to the talent portion).

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