Part steamy small-town jamboree, part honest-to-God Czech cultural celebration, the National Polka Festival in Ennis is one of your best chances all year to escape the mess of the city and remind yourself what you love about living in Texas. Wash down your barbecue, klobase or pork roast with a cold Czechvar or three, do the chicken dance with a few dozen of your new best friends, board the booze bus and do it all again at another festival hall. You could do worse for a weekend getaway, especially one just an hour down Interstate 45. It's a Czech event, sure, with ornate costumes and fascinating history on displaybut the cultural significance runs even deeper: Hipsters take it slow alongside folks nursing bad hips, kids explore musty fraternal hall back rooms, and folks sweat through T-shirts scrawled with jokes about hunting while they shop for more downtown. The grand three-day lineup of polka bands includes perennial crowd-pleasers and double Grammy-winners Brave Combo, rotating through the Sokol, Knights of Columbus and KJT halls. Saturday's got a morning parade, HorseshoeFest tournament and the newest Polkafest tradition: the national kolache eating championship. Admission varies by day from $7 to $12, so check nationalpolkafestival.com for details and schedule.
May 27-29, 2011