4th annual ‘Polka’s On Ice’ celebrates Polish culture in Stevens Point

Published: Feb. 19, 2023 at 8:45 PM CST
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - For Polka’s On Ice, it all began with a chicken dance.

“Two young ladies, Lily Perlak and Jessica Caves, recorded themselves doing the chicken dance and put it online,” said Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza. “And someone said, wow, wouldn’t it be great if we could do something bigger? So we put a few heads together, and before you know it, Polka’s on ice happened that year.”

Four years later, it’s reached new heights.

“We just had hot cocoa, and we had ice skating,” said Francene Gollon of the Polish Heritage Awareness Society. “And the downtown businesses wanted to open up the square, open up the downtown for people to visit, and for you to enjoy the entire day.”

Polka’s On Ice has grown into the strong event, consisting of polka music, paczkis, hot cocoa, and ice skating. While the event has helped local businesses, and vice versa, its meaning stands far beyond the economy.

“I grew up making paczki’s with Grandma, playing polka’s on Sunday morning, and we wanted to share that with the community,” said Gollon. “We wanted to share that with whoever we can.”

“Lubasz church was where my great, great, great Grandparents got married,” said Mayor Wiza. “It’s still standing, we were able to visit, it’s an active church, and my wife and I stood in front of the alter very possibly on the same spots that my great great grandparents did.”

Polish or not, the goal of Polka’s On Ice is to provide fun for everyone to enjoy.

“Anyone coming into the downtown is just going to have a good laugh, at least a couple of giggles, and hopefully just lighten the heart a little bit,” said Gollon. “In the middle of winter, this is why we wanted an event, something to get us ready for spring.”

Gollon mentioned that it’s especially important to teach younger generations about polish culture. If you’re interested in learning more about polish culture, or the polish heritage awareness society, click here.