LETTER: Disappointed by canceled polka eventWhat a disappointment that after 31 years, the Polka Festival has been canceled.
By: Billee Thompson, Geddes
To the Editor:
What a disappointment that after 31 years, the Polka Festival has been canceled.
It is an event that brings people to Mitchell and South Dakota from a very large number of states, plus several areas in Canada. These are not only polka dancers but tourists that your city is working so hard to bring in, even hiring a special person for that task. These people come not just as a stop-off for gas and a meal on their way west or east on I-90, but for up to four days or more to take in the music and fellowship. They stay in your motels, shop in your stores and eat in your restaurants.
They tell me the Polka Festival is losing money, but there have been many concerts that also lose money because of poor attendance. Overall, they still bring people to Mitchell’s businesses.
I attended a three-day polka festival in Las Vegas in February. Everyone who makes Mitchell’s festival a yearly destination is asking why the city leaders are canceling an established event? It has always been one of the most popular polka festivals on the dancers’ schedules and one of the best places to dance.
I’ve been told the dancers are too hard on the floor and it costs too much to recondition. Also the city wants more sporting events. That’s fine for the younger generations, but what do you have for the middle and senior generations to bring them together like the festival does?
The festival is a yearly family reunion to gather at for an enjoyable three to four days and for people all over the U.S. and Canada. They spend money in Mitchell as well as in our entire state.
It’s been said that possibly in the future it might be brought back, but once something is canceled, it dies.
I’m so sorry this decision was made by people who don’t enjoy this sort of event or even show up to see how other people enjoy it. I’ve attended all 31 years of Mitchell’s Polka Festival.