PolkaFest helps keep ethnic traditions alive

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Jun. 4—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — The legacy of Polish and Slovenian cultures was displayed Saturday at the 1st Summit Bank Johnstown PolkaFest at Peoples Natural Gas Park on Johns Street.

Donna Gilpin, of Greensburg, and Kathy Gregg, of Somerset, were in town for their first trip to PolkaFest.

"Whole traditions are being lost," said Gregg. "If we don't keep them going, who will?"

Rosie and the Jammers took the stage and couples graced the dance floor.

"Our grandparents taught us about the traditions and how to polka," Gilpin said.

"In my family, if you didn't know how to polka by the time you were 4 years old, then there was something wrong," Gregg said.

PolkaFest boasts some of the top Polish and Slovenian bands from across the county. The three-day event also includes a variety of ethnic- and festival-style food vendors, serving pierogies, haluski, halupki, cevapi, kielbasa and other cuisine.

PolkaFest continues from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday with a Polka Mass/John Stevens Polka Band, followed by Buffalo Concertina All Stars and the Polka Family Band.