Polka Party in Rossville

Polka Party in Rossville

Nov 16, 2016

“Polka will never die,” said well-known writer Jim Butcher. It's very true, as people enjoy polka music and dancing all over the world. In the little town of Rossville, KS, it has even helped become a part of a revived interest in Czech culture.

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The J.D. Parr Czechland Polka Band.

On September 17, the community gathered at the Moravan Lodge Hall for a polka dance with music from the J.D. Parr Czechland Polka Band organized by members of Moravan No. 128. There were also sandwiches, pickles, and chips available to keep the dancers energized. The event charged a small fee to help raise money to restore the historic hall where the event took place.

Moravan No. 128's President, Douglas Martinek, helped organize the event this year. He reflected, "we have had the event in the past, but people didn't know about it. We made an effort to get a crowd." The lodge invested less than $100 to advertise, but was able to reach out to 25 separate outlets in newspaper, radio, television, postcards, flyers, and online.

Prior to the event, members helped clean up the hall and prepare the seven-piece band, which they knew from prior events. Band leader, J.D. Parr, recently joined No. 128, and is retired from the music department at a local college. He commented at the event, "The Bohemian Hall is back," as he recalled how it was a hub for dances during his teen years.

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Attendees practice some fancy footwork
as they enjoy the music.

The evening turned out very well, with 150 to 200 people coming to try out the hall's historic wooden floors as they danced. Members and non-members, old and young, all came out. Many commented on how they wish to help revive Czech culture in their community. Teenage member Joseph Berry shared how he had fun dancing with an older lady, and remarked at her finesse on the dance floor.

It was a resounding success for No. 128. The lodge had its first big splash after a revival of interest that began just a few months prior. Because of the interest, and events like this polka party, the lodge has been able to gain around eight new active members.

Martinek said, "The whole lodge supports in and appreciates it. We are trying to instill culture into our community through polka dances, selling kolache, and may even be having someone teach Czech language to interested members in the future." The lodge is also interested in opening its hall doors to the public for rental. The wood floors are a unique historical treat that dancers enjoy, in particular.

The funds raised from the polka will help with restorations, such as indoor plumbing and air conditioning.

The next polka is tentatively planned for April 22, 2017 at the hall. For those interested in details, please contact Douglas Martinek at 785-633-5564.

Category: Czech Connection

Cindy Motsinger

Communications Coordinator

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