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Fancy footwork at Pierce County Fairgrounds for Ellsworth Polka Fest July 9-12

It may not be "Dancing with the Stars" or "So You Think You Can Dance," but there will be plenty of kicking up the heels when Polka Fest returns to the Pierce County Fairgrounds Thursday through Sunday, July 9-12.

The 34th annual version of one of Ellsworth's top outside draws will feature dancers on two wooden dance floors, testing their skills to the accompaniment of live music from a dozen bands. Plenty of related attractions are planned for participants and spectators alike to have a weekend full of fun.

The fairgrounds become a lot like a community of its own during the event, as annual attendance numbers has averaged around 2,400 people over the past nearly three-and-a-half decades' worth of festivals. Colorful attire and summertime conditions are hallmarks of the local celebration, one stop on a regional circuit many of the dancers follow.

Anticipation builds early, with approximately 200 campers arriving on the grounds in the days leading up to the festivities. They stay at a cost of $15 per night or $20 for the entire weekend, giving them access to restrooms and holding tanks for recreational vehicle dumping.

Then, the music will start and dancing begins at a jam session conducted by Bruce Libby Thursday, July 9, at 7 p.m. Vendors including Fritz Concertina, Repair and Sales plus Cloud #9 Dance Shoes will also get set up.

As the merriment progresses, fest goers will find a variety of refreshments. The Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce will make beer, brats, cheese curds and turkey sandwiches available. The Ellsworth Lions Club will provide barbecue chicken, while the Knights of Columbus serve burgers, and the Kinne Englehart American Legion Post and Ellsworth Funsters dispense beer, too. The morning crowd on Saturday and Sunday will be offered breakfast by the area Vietnam Veterans of America chapter.

On Sunday morning, an ecumenical church service will be held at 10:30; the Wendinger Band will supply the music. All weekend long, the Funsters and Ellsworth Fire Department members will staff the entrance gates. Admission to the grounds is $13 on Friday, $15 on Saturday and $11 on Sunday.

Read more in the print version of the Herald July 8.