Polka events are coming, Madisonians. Plan accordionly.

Polka is our state dance and there’s plenty of dancing to be had.

A polka band is on stage, consisting of a saxophone player, a banjo player, and two accordion players.jpeg

Polka is the official state dance of Wisconsin. | Photo via Mike Schneider Band

Polka music really strikes a chord with Wisconsinites.

In fact, it’s the state dance. The legislation was introduced at the request of a second-grade class from Lindbergh Elementary School in Madison in 1993. It was supported by a whole host of polka enthusiasts, including the Wisconsin Polka Boosters.

Accordionly, there are a host of funtime polka events coming soon. But, first, a brief history.

Polka’s origins come from a Bohemian woman named Anna Slezáková. In 1830, she was dancing unusually to a folk song called “Uncle Nimra Bought a White Horse.” It caught the attention of music teacher Josef Neruda who propagated it. Soon, it was the rage all over Europe and beyond, including Madison.

Want to shake a leg to some polka hits? Look no further.

A polka band, consisting of a guitarist, drummer, and singer perform on a small stage.png

Essen Haus, a German restaurant in downtown Madison, has live polka two nights a week. | Photo via Essen Haus


Essen Haus | Fridays and Saturdays | 7-11 p.m. | Essen Haus, 514 E. Wilson St., Madison | Cost of purchase | Madison’s beloved German restaurant’s calendar is filled up with the David Austin Band, Gary Beal Band, and RoundABout playing soon.

Wisconsin Polka Boosters Spring Dance | Sunday, March 24 | 1-5 p.m. | VFW New Berlin, 17980 Beloit Rd., New Berlin | $10 | Benefiting the Wisconsin Polka Boosters, polka band Carol and the Keynotes will provide a rousing afternoon of dancing delight.

Polka Party: Celebrating 30 Years of Wisconsin’s State Dance | Thursday, April 18 | 5:30-8 p.m. | History Maker Space, 1 S. Pinckney St., Madison | $5-$15 | Local polka fan DJ Shotski will spin classic and contemporary polka hits at this Wisconsin Historical Society event, which will include live music from DB Polka Express, food, and historical exhibits.

608today - DJ Shotski - Mar 24.jpg

DJ Shotski, aka Stacy Harbaugh, is one of Madison’s biggest polka enthusiasts. | Photo via Stacy Harbaugh

Vinylthon | Sunday, April 21 | 6-8 p.m. | WVMO 98.7, Virtual | Free | DJ Shotski will play vintage polka on a Voice of Monona broadcast (and streamed online) with a special emphasis on Wisconsin polka starting at 7 p.m.

Mike Schneider | Thursday, May 2 + Sunday, May 26 | 4:30-7:30 p.m. | The Biergarten at Olbrich Park, 3527 Atwood Ave., Madison | Cost of purchase | Mike Schneider, Milwaukee-based six-time Polka Hall of Fame award-winner, roams the Midwest with his accordion strapped tight.

Wisconsin Dells Polka Fest | Friday, May 10-Sunday, May 12 | Times vary | Chula Vista Resort, 2501 River Rd., Wisconsin Dells | $20-$93 | Workshops, lessons, vendors, jamming sessions, and, of course, polka music and dancing converge in the Dells.

Wisconsin State Polka Festival | Friday, May 17-Sunday, May 19 | Times vary | Sterling Chalet, 1271 Hwy. 175, Richfield | $0-$45 | Bands like Twin Lakes Trio, Good Time Dutchmen, Music Connection, and more will perform.

New Glarus Polkafest | Friday, June 7-Saturday, June 8 | Times vary | Downtown New Glarus | Free | Paying tribute to local musician Roger Bright, music will be performed by Jerry Voelker and the Jolly Gents, Barefoot Becky, and others.