2017-06-22 / Life in Leelanau

94-year-old won’t miss a day of Polka Fest

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff


ANN MAZUREK of Cedar, 94, (left) will be at the Cedar Polka Fest during all four days of the event. “It’s part of who she is,” said her daughter BJ Christensen (right). ANN MAZUREK of Cedar, 94, (left) will be at the Cedar Polka Fest during all four days of the event. “It’s part of who she is,” said her daughter BJ Christensen (right). Ann (Garvin) Mazurek of Cedar remembers dancing in the family kitchen while her uncle Isadore Waslawski played his accordion.

She liked it then and 90 years later her enthusiasm for polka hasn’t fallen off.

Mazurek, who will be 95 next month, has plans to attend all four days of the Cedar Polka Fest this week.

“My favorites are ‘Just Because,’ ‘The Tick Toc Polka,’ ‘Roll Out the Barrel,’ ‘Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie,’ and ‘The Blue Skirt Waltz.’”

She grew up on the family farm on Lakeshore Drive, now the Garvin dairy farm. Her father, John, was born in Danzig, Prussia (now known as Gdansk, Poland). Her mother, Susan Radtke, was born in the United States.


BJ CHRISTENSEN and her mother, Ann Mazurek (from left) talk over plans for this weekend’s Polka Fest in Cedar. Mazurek remembers dancing to her uncle’s accordion when she was 5 years old. BJ CHRISTENSEN and her mother, Ann Mazurek (from left) talk over plans for this weekend’s Polka Fest in Cedar. Mazurek remembers dancing to her uncle’s accordion when she was 5 years old. Mazurek recalls walking several miles with her siblings to Holy Rosary School, where the first language was Polish.

She attended Holy Rosary until she made her first Communion and then the Hilltop School, a little closer to home, just a couple miles up the lakeshore, near what is now Bel Lago.

After graduating at eighth grade, Mazurek went to work in Traverse City for Zimmerman Nursery, located on the southwest corner of M-22 and M-72.

She then worked housekeeping for a Mrs. Novak on Union Street in Traverse City and for the John Hall family in Traverse City.

It was at a dance above the Cedar Tavern where she met her husband, Ed Mazurek. They had known one another from Holy Rosary School and church, but the dance presented the first real opportunity to get to know one another.

Ed enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1940 and was on guard at Hickam Airfield in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when the Japanese attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.

“He saw the planes coming and thought it was the Navy pilots. They would play practical jokes and drop sand bags,” his daughter, BJ Christensen said. “It wasn’t until he saw flying body parts that he realized it wasn’t a joke.

“That was a recurring nightmare for him.”

Ed and Ann were married June 22, 1946 at Holy Rosary Church. Initially, the couple lived in Kingsley, where he had a barbershop. Ed had is barber’s license before enlisting in the service.

They moved to Cedar and their farm, located on the east side of Co. Rd. 651 opposite Popa Road, included cattle, wheat, corn, oats, hay, potatoes and sweet cherries.

The Mazureks made some pretty interesting finds when they made the move to the farm in 1950.

“It was an old bootleggers place — speakeasy,” Christensen said. “They found a bunch of old bottles and the granary had birdseye maple flooring.”

It would seem fitting if those floors were used to dance the polka.

Mazurek and her daughter are regulars at the weekly polka party, Tuesdays from noon to 4 p.m. at the Leelanau Sands Showroom.

Gone are the days when polka was relegated to the Lawrence Welk Show.

Today there are hundreds of cable channels available providing Mazurek plenty of entertainment. She watches “Mollie B’s Polka Show” on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.; “Big Joe’s Polka Show” at 5 p.m. Fridays followed by the “Jimmy Sturr Show” at 7 p.m.

Mazurek continues to enjoy traditional Polish food such as pierogi and paczki. However, the once fluent Polish speaker sticks to "Dziekuje," which means “thank you” and "Jak sie masz?," which is “how are you doing?”

But there’s no place she’d rather be than the Polka Fest, and plans are for her to be under the tent during each of the four-day event. She will also help filling balloons for Saturday’s Polka Parade.

“It’s always been a part of who she is,” Christensen said.

All You Need to Know About the Polka Fest

Dates and times: Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to midnight and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Where and when established? Started in 1975 and went for three years. There were no fests in ‘78, ‘79 and ‘80 but the group reorganized and started over in 1981. This year in the 36th annual.

Price to get in: $10 Thursday, Friday, Saturday; $5 Sunday. Kids 12 and under are admitted free with parent. People under 21 must be with parent after 8 p.m. Veterans and current military personnel admitted free with military ID.

Price for one draft beer: $3

The Golden Rule: “It’s a lesson you don’t want to learn the hard way. If you lose a shoe, never go upstream against the dancing flow to retrieve it.”

Entertainment lineup: Box On Family Polka Band, Broad Bros. Country Music, New Brass Express Polka Band, New Generations Polka Band, The Diddlestyx.

Don’t forget Mass: Polka Mass, under the tent, Sunday at 11 a.m.

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STO LAT MISS. MAZUREK

STO LAT MISS. MAZUREK