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Dance Time
by Jennifer Pijanowski
© 2018 Polish American Journal

A Winning Combination for Fans and Bands

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Corner bars with polka events seem to be popping up all over Western New York. New Direction recently played at the Firehouse in Cheektowaga on a Saturday evening. Free admission, drink and food specials throughout the night proved to be a winning combination for this local watering hole. They will be returning again, so check out their website for upcoming dates. New Direction also appears monthly at the Polish Nook in Niagara Falls. This is a terrific venue and typically fills up very early, so make reservations if you plan to go there. Visit www.thenewdirectionband.com for up-to-the-minute news on where the band will be performing next.

Special Delivery has also secured monthly appearances at Buffalo Pizza & Ale House on Dingens St. in Cheektowaga, conveniently located right off the exit of the I-190. Free admission is also offered for this event and there are many bar and food specials to indulge in while you are there. The band plays in an adjacent room with plenty of seating and room to dance. Table service as well as walk up bar service makes this venue a no-brainer for a Sunday afternoon of polka fun.

Special Delivery will be performing there from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 16. Stop by after a long day of Christmas shopping and share in some holiday cheer. The band also has many events in the coming months including a Koledy Sing-Along on December 15th at Potts Banquet Hall. You can check out their schedule via their website www.thespecialdeliveryband.com.

Lastly, Clinton Bar and Grill has been hosting polka music on a monthly basis for that past few years. The Buffalo Touch is appearing on the third weekend of each month from 5:30-8:30 p.m. This local tavern also boasts free admission and specials for the polka crowd. This month’s polka Sunday will be held a week early on December 9. The venue is located on Clinton St. near Harlem Rd. in Cheektowaga and typically draws a diverse crowd.

I am hopeful that polka fans continue to frequent these venues as often as possible so that business owners continue to book polka music. While free admission is great for music lovers, these sites can only continue to hire bands if it is financially feasible. The more music lovers come to support the owners, the longer polka music will be offered.

POLKA FANS TO HELP MISSION OF MERCY. Polka music fans are asked to bring winter, holiday, and personal items to benefit St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy to the annual Christmas Sing-Along, hosted by Buffalo’s Special Delivery Band.

St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy is an independent Mission in the Roman Catholic Tradition in the inner city of Buffalo, New York. It does not receive money from the government or the Diocese. Its ministry depends on donations to continue its service to the community.

Items needed by St. Luke’s include:

  • Winter Needs: Medications: Pain relievers, cold and allergy medications, cough drops, etc. for both children and adults. (Please, no prescription drugs).
  • Everyday Needs: Clean and gently-used clothing, shoes and boots, linens, toys; candy; baby diapers; wipes and formula (Enfamil is preferred); toilet paper; paper towels; tissues and small-size personal hygiene products.
  • Code Blue Needs: Men’s sweatshirts, t-shirts, socks, blankets, and sheets.
  • Donations: Checks (no cash, please) made out to “St. Luke’s Mission Of Mercy” with “Holiday Food Baskets” in the reference line.

This year’s Christmas Sing-Along will be held Saturday, December 15 at Pott’s Banquet Hall, 41 S. Rossler Ave., Cheektowaga, NY 14206, from 7:00-11:00 p.m. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m.

For table reservations, call Ted Szymanski at (716) 688-9101.

To help St. Luke’s Mission directly with a monetary donation, send check or money order to St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, P.O. Box 448, Buffalo, NY 14215.

COSTUMED FUN. Potts Banquet Hall was filled with ghosts and goblins as polka fans dressed for Halloween and came to enjoy an evening with the Buffalo Touch. Prizes were given for various costumes, including best couple, sexiest costume, and most original. Fans spent the evening dancing along to the delightful entertainment of The Touch playing polka favorites and a DJ to fill in on their breaks. Always happy to perform their most requested songs, fans anticipate singing and dancing to those favorites. Band members joined in the fun dressing for the occasion. Accordionist Mike Nowakowski’s family was there in full force enjoying his performance. I was lucky enough to catch a quick photo of Mike donning a dachshund mask during the evening with pirate Tadj rocking right behind him. All that attended left with a smile on their face after a night of tricks and treats for all.

THE BUZZ. When Polka Buzz, our local polka dance party show, started a few years ago, I thought it was going to be short-lived. The show tapings started off with slow audience participation and the bands being paid with gift certificates from local restaurants.

Fast forward a few years and the cult following this show retains is tremendous. Hundreds of fans religiously arrive at Potts Banquet hall for the monthly taping and hit the dance floor song after song. Every band draws an incredible crowd consisting of more than just your average polka fan base. I have talked with many attendees who admit that they never danced the polka in their life until they decided to come to a live taping. The audience genuinely has an incredible time dancing and making their appearance on this local TV show. Western New York DJ turned TV host Ronnie D kiddingly jokes with audience members and showcases interviews with band members, local promoters, and Polish organizations in the area. Ronnie D, who hosts a weekly polka show called Drive Time Polkas at 5:00 p.m. daily on WXRL 1300 AM, is no stranger to polka fans.

WXRL has been a longtime supporter of polka music giving air time to many polka DJ’s during its more than 50 years in business. The radio station is owned and operated by the musically gifted Schriver family. This family has been a well-respected staple of the WNY music scene since their father “Ramblin’ Lou” Schriver began his radio career in 1946.

A dear friend of my family since before I even knew polkas existed, it was a delight to see Linda Lou Schriver at the Polka Buzz November taping showcasing Special Delivery. Linda was taking the opportunity to reach the thousands of viewers who tune into Polka Buzz to advertise some upcoming events for their radio station. Musicians and dancers who partake in monthly shows all admit that people frequently recognize them from the TV show. I don’t think you can ask for better advertising for the polka genre. If you live outside the area, you can visit the WBBZ website or catch past episodes on YouTube.

HAPPY NEW YEAR. If you are looking for New Year’s plans, there are a few events happening in Western New York. Millennium Hotel’s event features John Gora & Gorale and Buffalo Concertina All Stars. Pricing starts at $229.99 per couple which includes an overnight stay, seven-hour open bar, Polish dinner buffet, champagne toast at midnight, as well as a breakfast buffet on New Year’s Day morning. Music and dancing will take place from 7:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. You can contact the Millennium for further information or to make reservations at 1-800-323-3331.

Potts Banquet Hall in Cheektowaga will also be hosting a New Year’s event with music by Phocus. The evening includes a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvre, delicious dinner, open bar, party hats, and midnight toast. For information and pricing, you can contact Potts Banquet Hall at (716) 826-6575. Pricing for the New Years at Potts begins at $49.95 per person.

HOLY TOLEDO! Polka fans are buzzing with excitement at the return of Holy Toledo Polka Days. The festival is scheduled for April 5-7, 2019. Holy Toledo ’19 will be held at the Renaissance Toledo Downtown Hotel, located at 444 N. Summit Street in Toledo.

The three-day polka festival will feature the some of the top polka bands in the industry, including the host band The DynaBrass, The Boys, The Beat, Polish Connection, John Gora & Gorale, Polka Country Musicians, FreezeDried, The Knewz, and Squeezebox featuring Ted Lange & Mollie B. The revival of this festival is so highly anticipated that the Renaissance, the host hotel, is already booked to capacity. But rest assured that you can still attend this wonderful spring time event. An additional block of rooms has been established for attendees at the Park Inn by Radisson, located at 101 North Summit St. This convenient hotel is just a five-minute walk or complimentary shuttle bus ride. Rooms are available at the group rate of $109.00/per night and reservations can be made by calling Park Inn by Radisson Reservation Line at (419) 241-3000 while utilizing the Holy Toledo Group Code is 1904HTPDRB.

A wait list has also been established for the Renaissance Hotel and additional information is available by contacting Joe Zalewski directly at (419) 351-5031 or via email at [email protected]

Merry Christmas wishes to all, and my best for a happy, healthy, and blessed New Year.

 

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