ENNIS – The 47th Annual National Polka Festival in Ennis, Texas will be held on Memorial Day weekend, May 24-26, 2013. Ennis’ Czech heritage is celebrated to the hilt as visitors can listen or dance to a variety of bands playing traditional polka, waltz and folk music in three spacious dance halls: the Sokol Activity Center, the Knights of Columbus Hall and the KJT Hall in Ennis.

The National Polka Festival is a joint effort of many organizations in Ennis. The Ennis Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the National Polka Festival Parade and the downtown arts and crafts activities which are free to attend. The contributions made to our community by the National Polka Festival Committee and the city of Ennis are unparalleled. The city of Ennis is also excited to have several proud sponsors in 2013 including WFAA-TV, Channel 8. Residents and visitors alike love opportunities to celebrate the Czech culture that adds such a flavor of fun and good times to the Ennis way of life. The toe tapping music, the authentic Czech food, and the great big smiles can’t be beat. “Vitame vas…We welcome you!!”

The National Polka Festival attracts thousands of polka enthusiasts from around the country who descend upon Ennis for more than just dancing.

The festival also includes a giant parade, winding through downtown Ennis, with floats, bands and Czech costumes. Mollie Busta Lange, “Mollie B” of the Mollie B Polka Party, is the Grand Marshal. Free shuttle buses sponsored by Brookshire’s, will take visitors to and from downtown Ennis and to the dance halls. The 4th Annual Kolache Eating Contest, sponsored by the SPJST, will be held in downtown under the tent on Saturday afternoon. The festival also offers an annual horseshoefest tournament on Saturday, as well as an abundance of Czech food and activities for the entire family. The centerpiece of the National Polka Festival is the three Czech dance halls and over 14 live bands from throughout the United States that fill the auditoriums with music. Featured entertainment includes Grammy-winner Brave Combo and much more! Between polkas, visitors can also stroll through the town’s Czech museum, which is a memorial to the local Czech heritage and those Czechs who helped develop the Ennis community. A Friday night dance contest, where participants are encouraged to wear traditional Czech costumes, determines the festival’s queen and king, and a Sunday polka Mass lures visitors to hear English and Czech hymns sung to polka music. Even Texas country music is enjoyed at the festival on Saturday night at the Sokol Activity Center. There is a separate admission for this popular concert featuring Kyle Park and special guest, Mat Slovacek.

Visitors and residents can also enter the annual Polka Pictures photo contest in three categories. The Annual Ennis Polkafest Run, proudly hosted by the Ennis Rotary Club, with Title Sponsor, HEB, will feature a 10K, 5K and 1-mile run/walk. The first race will begin approximately at 7:00 am on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

“There is no other Czech festival that brings thousands of people to their town,” said Danny Zapletal, director of the National Polka Festival. “The festival’s founders and current successors have maintained the authenticity and values of the Czech tradition, requiring all parade entries, street dancers and bands to maintain the Czech theme.” This year’s parade theme is “Where Everyone Can Be Czech For a Day.”

Ennis, located just 30 miles south of downtown Dallas on IH-45, offers other attractions such as the Texas Motorplex, the Galaxy Drive in Theatre (just north of Ennis), Lake Bardwell, Ennis Public Theatre, Ennis Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum, Annual Bluebonnet Trails and Festival in April, quality hotels, unique restaurants and shops, and much more! For more information on the National Polka Festival, contact the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau at (972) 878-4748. For vendor information, please contact the Ennis Chamber of Commerce at 972-878-2625. For more Ennis information, go to www.visitennis.org and the official National Polka Festival website: www.nationalpolkafestival.com.