Ooompah, ooompah

HUMBOLDT – It might be pretty easy to locate CW Benson’s vehicle in the parking area of the Humboldt County Fairgrounds while he’s attending the 24th annual Midwest Polka Fest this weekend.

It has Texas license plates.

While the plates won’t tell you he’s from a town named Kurten, he will tell you in person that it’s about a 1,900-mile drive.

Benson, now 75, grew up around the infectiously happy music termed polka.

“I was born and raised in a German community,” he said. “That’s what we did. We danced.”

Adele Yetmar, of Clare, got to try a few dances with him.

“He’s a wonderful dancer,” she said.

Yetmar said she hasn’t missed a Polka Fest in about 20 years. She began dancing with her late husband, Don, in the early 1980s. The couple attended many dances at the Bohemian Hall south of Fort Dodge.

She still enjoys it.

“We have a lot of fun,” she said.

With about a dozen bands slated to play over the course of the weekend, she doesn’t have a favorite.

“They’re all good in their own way,” she said.

Anna Lenz, of Humboldt, became interested in polka while watching dances on TV with her grandfather, Harry Lenz, of Badger.

“When I was little I watched the ‘Big Joe Polka’ show and Mollie B,” she said.

Then came the real thing.

“I learned from him a couple of years ago,” she said, referring to her grandfather.

She’s been attending and dancing for three years.

“She’s doing pretty good too,” Harry Lenz said.

Anna Lenz, 13, has few peers in her own age group that dance the polka.

“None of my friends want to come,” she said.

It’s not for lack of extended invitations.

“I try to convince my friends,” she said.

They might just like it, they both claim.

“They’re missing a lot fun,” Harry Lenz said.

As they danced, Donna Lenz, her grandmother, watched them circle around the floor to the Leon Olsen Show – and she was smiling.

“I just love to watch them,” she said.

The Midwest Polka Fest continues today, Saturday and Sunday.

Dancing starts at 2 p.m. today and continues until 10 p.m. Admission is $10. On Saturday, the dancing begins at 11 a.m. and lasts until 11 p.m. Admission is $15. On Sunday, the dancing begins at noon and continues until 8 p.m. Admission is $11. Pre-dance events include a Lions Club breakfast from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and a Polka Mass at 10 a.m.