Duane Kasten admitted that when he started Polka Days, he never imagined the event would still be happening 40 years later.
As the owners of a bar in Seaforth, Duane and Donna Kasten understood the value of bringing in good entertainment.
As those who have always been interested in a particular style of music, the Kastens determined having an event that would bring entertainment to the community would serve a dual purpose – bringing people to the community, which was good for business, and giving them a chance to enjoy listening to area polka bands.
From that was born an event known today as Polka Fest Plus, and when Seaforth celebrates its annual community festival July 19-21 it is going to mark the 40th time it has been held.
Duane Kasten admitted when Polka Days started he never imagined the event would still be happening 40 years later.
Kasten said one of the reasons he started the annual event in Seaforth was to keep his own kids interested in polka music.
“Our daughter played the drums and our son played the concertina,” said Kasten.
Kasten said he and his wife, Donna, met in the ballroom, and as they took in a similar event in Gibbon a spark to do something like it in Seaforth started.
“We figured if they could do it in Gibbon we could do it, too,” Kasten said, adding over the winter months one year when things were slow he began writing down notes about musicians and plans for the event. “The first year we had 13 groups play. I was surprised at how well that first year went.”
For the next five years, the Kastens kept Polka Days going, and Kasten recalls one of those years included performances by six bands from five different states.
Eventually, the festival got to be too much for a small group, and the Kastens ap-proached the Seaforth Booster Club about taking over the community event.
Kasten said he always appreciated the volunteers who helped to put on Polka Days, adding the Booster Club does a great job putting activities and music together from one year to the next.
“We come out every year and would not miss it,” said Kasten.
The Kastens have been all over to listen to good music and to dance, and recently they have traveled to North Dakota, Wiscon-sin and Iowa to be part of polka festivals and to listen to “good” music.
“We go where the music is,” he said.
The music is going to be playing in Sea-forth this weekend, with bands on tap to play Friday night and throughout the afternoon and evening Saturday.
Dale Dahmen’s Polka Beats play Friday night from 8 p.m. until midnight.
Beets & Gang start Saturday’s music at 2:30 p.m., with Larry Olsen playing at 5:30, 8 and 10 p.m.
George’s Concertina band plays at 5 p.m. during the polka Mass, at 7 and 9 p.m.
For those who might not appreciate polka music, the T&A Show, a country/rock group are playing Friday night starting at 9 p.m., with Roxbury playing Satur-day starting at 9 p.m.
While music is a major part of Polka Fest Plus, there are other activities taking place during the weekend, including:
• A bean bag tourney Friday, with registration at 7:30 p.m.
• A co-ed softball tournament Saturday with finals Sunday
• A kids pedal pull, for ages four through 11 at 2 p.m. Saturday
• A horseshoe tournament at 2 p.m. Saturday
• A youth bean bag tournament Saturday, with registration at 6 p.m.
• The annual chicken supper Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
• The 5 p.m. polka Mass – this event is held outdoors, so be sure to bring your own seating.
• Free root beer floats are being served at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
There is a concessions stand and beer stand being held all through the weekend.
There is plenty of free parking, with camping also available.
Admission to Polka Days is $8 in advance and $14 at the gate for the weekend.
Friday only admission is $9, as is admission for Saturday only.
Children 11 and un-der are free.
The Seaforth Booster Club and the Kastens look forward to seeing a big crowd in Seaforth this weekend.
The public is invited to the smallest polka town in the nation this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.