Southwest Polka Party In Las Vegas
The 23rd annual Southwest Polka Party was held in Las Vegas at the Orleans Hotel Casino February 11-13. Bands played in two ballrooms. The Mardi Gras Ballroom is the larger of the two with capacity for over 800 people offering a Master dance floor. Ray Sands, Julie Lee, and the Softones rotated from 1pm to 10pm Tuesday and Wednesday with a shorter program on Thursday. The Esplanade Ballroom holds several hundred people. The Alaska Polka Chips and Barefoot Becky rotated on the program with a jam session setup from 5-7 pm Tuesday and Wednesday. Our buddy, Roman Possedi, emceed the event. Roman was Mr. Chicago in Cleveland-style polka music for six decades. He has resided in Las Vegas for over a decade and does a masterful job introducing the talent. Ed & Lois Halvorsen, who originated the Southwest Polka Party, retired and handed it off to Julie Lee who kept the same format mixing in a few new bands and promises to keep it fresh with some new bands each year. Julie did a great job organizing the event and performing. The polka music was soft tempo with a lot of two-steps, an occasional circle Schottisch, and other mixers which the crowd loves. The dance floors were well occupied without being crowded. It’s aptly called a party. We see people from across the country that we haven’t seen since the party the prior year. It’s as much a time to socialize as it is to dance. The party flows out of the venue into hotel rooms. A few doors down the hall from us a group was having a champagne breakfast party on Wednesday. We (Mary Saber, Phyllis Seibert, Gail, & I) had a jam-packed room party on Wednesday where Pete Dundas, Danny Fitterer, and Potsy Jenovic played heart throbbing Slovenian music. It’s a happening – music, dance, dine, gamble, and gambol!