New Wisconsin Polka Documentary Premieres March 6

February 27, 2017

For More Information:

Erik Ernst, publicist, 608-265-3853, erik.ernst@wpt.org
Photo Attached of Polka! Host Mollie Busta, photo credit James Gill

New Wisconsin Polka Documentary Premieres March 6 

Wisconsin celebrates family, community and life with polka. In fact, it’s the law: polka was designated our State Dance in 1993.

Now, an all-new Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) documentary takes viewers inside the state’s vibrant polka culture. Polka!, hosted by internationally known polka star Mollie Busta – best known as Mollie B.  – premieres 7 p.m. Monday, March 6 statewide on WPT and Milwaukee Public Television. The program will have an encore broadcast 7 p.m. Saturday, March 11 on WPT.

Travelling statewide to festivals, music venues and celebrations where the polka community thrives and the rich tradition continues to grow, Busta uncovers how this lively dance arrived in Wisconsin, and why revelers young and old still love it, generations later. Viewers will visit Pulaski Polka Days, the Event in Bevent, New Glarus’ Roger Bright Memorial Polka Fest, an Oktoberfest celebration in Madison, a Polka wedding reception in Burlington, a Polka mass at the Wisconsin State Polka Festival in Oconomowoc and other events across the state, and meet some of the Wisconsinites keeping the tradition alive.

Musicians and bands from across Wisconsin, including Steve Meisner, Box On, The Polka Family Band, The Goodtime Dutchmen, The Jim Busta Band and many others share stories of how polka kindled marriages, of grandmas teaching the traditional steps to the grandchildren on special occasions, and families passing the love and lore to the next generation. 

“I really enjoyed being a part of Polka!, because it’s a way I can bring polka to more people,” Mollie Busta says. “I hope people in the audience get to turn this on and have fond memories back to the 1960s, ‘70s or even earlier. Or those who are just starting to listen to polka music will be reminded what wonderful music this is that brings people together.

I’ve been very fortunate to travel literally all over the world playing polka music: the Caribbean, Europe, even Japan and all over the United States,” she added. “But there is something special about Wisconsin. Everyone seems to know what the polka is about. People come out for all of these church picnics and special events to celebrate life with polka. That is what is unique about polka here in Wisconsin.”

Funding for Polka! Is provided in part by the Stanley J. Cottrill Fund, the International Polka Association, Wisconsin Dells Polka Fest and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television.

WPT is a service of the Educational Communications Board and University of Wisconsin-Extension.

            Wisconsin Public Television is a place to grow through learning on WHA-TV, Madison; WPNE-TV, Green Bay; WHRM-TV, Wausau; WLEF-TV, Park Falls; WHLA-TV, La Crosse; and WHWC-TV, Menomonie-Eau Claire.

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