Things to Do

Polka Your Face Off in Ennis at the National Polka Festival

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Tony Maples Photography


For some, polka is a way of life. If you are interested in what it’s all about, travel about 35 miles south of Dallas this Memorial Day weekend for The National Polka Festival® in Ennis, Texas. The fun takes place May 24 through 26. Here, there’s a feel of “a little bit of old Czechoslovakia” which can attract over 50,000 attendees. Everyone is encouraged to wear traditional Czech kroj (costumes), but if yours is at the cleaners, come just as you are!

Polka Your Face Off in Ennis at the National Polka Festival

Facebook/Jacqueline Gonsalves

One of the largest polka festivals in the country, Ennis is one of the most northern Czech settlements in Texas. The first large groups of Czech immigrants began arriving in Texas in the 1850s, with many settling in Central and North Central Texas. Music and dancing had vital roles in day-to-day lives. As the Texas-Czech population grew, several fraternal organizations began building dance halls to regularly host dances and other celebrations. Three of these open their doors for the festival: the Knights of Columbus, the Sokol Activity Center, and Katolicka Jednota Texaska (Catholic Union of Texas) known as the KJT. Plus, each hall is air conditioned! Be sure to bring cash for beer and food in the halls.

Polka Your Face Off in Ennis at the National Polka Festival

Facebook/Stefanie Burroughs

This is the place to experience Czech traditions, authentic food, religious customs, arts and crafts, dancing, music, and treats. Polka is not just a name at this festival. Enjoy 13 talented live polka bands from all over the world, including Brave Combo, winner of two Grammy Awards for Best Polka Album. Czech themes are everywhere, including the parade and the street dance! Additionally, there is a King/Queen Dance contest, Kolache Eating Contest, and Polka Run of 10K, 5K, and 1 Mile Fun. Take dance lessons until you can’t stand anymore, then enjoy a free shuttle ride back to your car!