OUR VIEW: Ending of polka festival is sad but justifiableThe unfortunate truth is that nobody in their right mind can predict an increase in future attendance.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Support continues to roll in for the Corn Palace Polka Festival, which ran for 31 years before a decision was handed down earlier this year to end the event.
The Corn Palace Festival Board, which oversees the Polka Festival, decided the mid-September party got to a point where it was just no longer financially viable.
Declining attendance has led to declining profit. Other associated problems — such as wear and tear on the Palace floor — also were part of the decision.
Declining attendance means less profit. It’s simple business.
Although we were never ones to dance there ourselves, we appreciated the Polka Festival, since it brought people to Mitchell and was steeped in nostalgia. Beautiful clothes often were part of the charm, as was the love in the eyes of those longtime couples who we figure had danced to these tunes for decades.
Anyone who attended the event could see polka is for lovers. The problem is that there are fewer and fewer of those couples attending each year, and the unfortunate truth is that nobody in their right mind can predict an increase in future attendance.
It’s true that some shows during the Corn Palace Festival — held separate from the Polka Festival — do not turn a profit, but each show there is a gamble that sometimes pays big dividends.
Looking into the future of the Polka Festival, it’s difficult to see it as anything more than a losing proposition.
We don’t blame the Corn Palace Festival Board for discontinuing the Polka Festival. Likewise, we don’t blame those who continue to voice their disapproval over the decision. The Daily Republic still is receiving letters from all over the country.
But even with this outpouring of support, we agree with the Festival Board. It’s a difficult decision, and we suspect one accompanied by a little sadness.
Who doesn’t love the Polka Festival?
We did, but that doesn’t mean we are convinced that a multi-day event would thrive in the coming years.