National Polka Festival in Ennis Texas 2011 and It's Age at 45
Last night started the 45th Annual National Polka Festival from Ennis, Texas. I'm not going to post a bunch of photos here on my blog but you can see the photos on my Flickr Set for the National Polka Festival. This festival is something we try to go to every year, and it's an event Deborah has gone to since she was about 3 or 4 years old. Unfortunately it hasn't changed much since she was 3 or 4 years old, but it's still quite fun to celebrate her Czech heritage with others. I just wish the promoters and people in charge of marketing the festival would recognize we are no longer in the 1970's and make a better attempt to pass along an important event and heritage to the younger generation. It's time!
I'm not in charge of course but I do work in communicating a message, communicating a way of life that has to be passed from one generation to another in order to survive, and there are some similarities to this and my own ministry. I totally understand their desire to maintain tradition, and that's important, but each year that goes by the festival promoters attempt to remember the past, not necessarily the traditions, and do nothing to bring in the youngest generation.
Case in point, I go to the SOKOL (the starting hall last night), open Foursquare, no venue checkin. Fine, I create one, take a pic, upload it, now I'm Mayor (haha). I take some photos, go to upload them to Flickr. There is no Flickr group, so I create one (Polka Festival). The only pics on Flickr that show up are from 2 years ago when I posted them, ok, I'll post a few more. There is no chatter on Twitter, none on Facebook (none that I can find officially from the NPF website, thought they do have a Facebook page, very commendable), and zero, I mean zero computers or other connected devices at the event. Of course there is no wifi (I brought my own) so it wouldn't make much sense to have a "device" anyway. And, not to embarrass anyone at all, but, all you have to do is take one look at the National Polka Festival website and you get the whole picture. I mean really, come on guys, pay some high school kid $250 to update your website? Do a google search for the "National Polka Festival" and after the official site I'm number 2 and 3 on Google's list, and I have nothing to do with the festival at all. So far, what they did do differently is bring in a "magician" for the weekend. It would take a whole completely different blog post to explain the things I think are wrong about that, but oh well. We have given it several years and we will probably not come back after this 2011 festival, instead opting to go to Nebraska where at least it will be a new experience.
I say none of this to chastise the festival but in an attempt to give them an outside, objective, perspective on the festival in hopes they will embrace the younger generation so it won't completely die off... and I'm NOT the younger generation just in case they are reading this, I'm over 40, so you need to be ahead of what I'm talking about. I'll get off my soapbox now, that's my free advice to the NPF people in charge.
So, today there is a parade, venders, and Czech dancing and food at all three halls. I will be sure to ruin my diet by eating all the great German and Czech food available, and I'm sure we will enjoy our time at the festival today. For photos of the event just check out my Flickr page. You can also see posts from the previous years 2010, 2009, Saturday Parade 2008, 2008, 2007, Saturday 2006, and 2006.