Wisconsin is the home of several cultures and heritages, and as we all know, each has its own special traditions. Central Wisconsin is especially known for our ties to Polish and German roots, which brings us Polka.
This weekend marks the 39th annual Central Wisconsin Polka Festival. Polka Club President Jim Pagel says it's been held in Merrill for years, whether that be at Lincoln County Fair Grounds or where it will take place this year at the Smith Center.
The club's originals have all passed on, but the legends and traditions still live on through club members. Pagel says people from out of state even travel to the fest every year to partake in some Polka party fun, which is otherwise hard to find in other areas around Wisconsin.
Putting together the Polka Fest is more than just a duty for Pagel though; it's a way of life for him. Pagel says Polka is something he's grown up with and lived around his entire life.
He even met his wife at a Polka dance. His wife Barb replied that it's a boy's dream come true- you get to hold hands with a girl and put your arm around her at the same time. So who knows? Polka could be your ticket to true love.
Several bands will be participating in the fest, including Wendinger Brother's Band, Barry Boyce Band, and the Craig Ebel-DyVersa Co. A Sunday morning church service will also be offered for those interested.
Central Wisconsin's Polka Festival runs this Friday from 6 p.m.-10 p.m., Saturday from 1 p.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday from 1 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Smith Center in Merrill. Ticket Pricing is as follows: $8 Friday, $13 Saturday, $11 Sunday; or $27 for three-day pass.