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Chicago Ridge Polka Fest a social occasion for everyone

Organizer Patrick Henry stands outside GlendorBanquets Chicago Ridge Sunday welcoming visitors PolkFest.  |  AlisNicol~For Sun-Times Media

Organizer Patrick Henry stands outside Glendora Banquets in Chicago Ridge on Sunday welcoming visitors to Polka Fest. | Alison Nicol~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 1, 2013 7:01AM



It was a great day for dancing, friendship and good food during Polka Fest on Sunday at Glendora Banquets in Chicago Ridge.

The event was organized by Patrick Henry, who hosted two polka bands, the Bratwurst Brothers, of Chicago, and Benjamin Gaboda and the Polka Pak from Stevens Point, Wis.

The crowd included 50 polka fans from Wisconsin who chartered a bus for the trip to Chicago.

While it’s not often that you encounter so many Green Bay Packers jerseys on a Sunday afternoon in Chicago without a football game between the Bears and our neighbors to the north, the rivalry was all in good fun.

Henry has been hosting Polka Fests at Glendora, 10225 Harlem Ave., three out of four Sundays a month for approximately 10 years.

“It’s a social occasion. They look forward to seeing some of the same people, but we welcome everybody,” Henry said. “You don’t even have to be Polish. People don’t come here to get crazy or stupid, they come to dance and have a good time.”

Mary Ann Jakubielski, attending with her husband, Bob, said, “We come here all the time, we’re polka people, and all our friends are here.”

Sitting at Jakubielski’s table were her friends Bob and Pat Ondas and Carol Dzieglowicz, who said her favorite part of the day was “the music and the friendship.”

Also attending the event was Rick Rzeszutko, acting president of the International Polka Association, 4608 S. Archer Ave. in Chicago, which also houses the not-for-profit Polka Music Hall of Fame.

“We have members all over the country and 15 trustees and 165 electors responsible for the nomination and voting for the Hall of Fame every year where we hand out plaques for best female/male vocalist, song of the year, CD of the year and best instrumental group,” Rzeszutko said.

Food was provided by Mary and Stanley Bielanski, the chefs and owners who have been providing delicious pierogis, cabbage rolls, homemade sausage and sauerkraut, breaded pork cutlet and more at Glendora Banquets for 22 years.

Admission to the event was $10.



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