Four long-time Cleveland-area polka musicians will be inducted into the National
Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame at the annual awards ceremony on November 26,
2016. Bandmates Jeff Pecon, John Pecon and Ralph Delligatti, along with Mark Habat
, were voted for their lifetime achievements in Cleveland-Style polka music by Hall
of Fame members and trustees. The announcement was made at the October 13 membership
meeting of the American Slovenian Polka Foundation in Euclid, Ohio.
Mark Habat has been a popular drummer for more than forty years and has appeared
on more than eighty recordings. He is Vice President of the Polka Hall of Fame and
organizes the annual Thanksgiving Polka Weekend. Jeff Pecon, John Pecon and Ralph
Delligatti have performed together since the 1970s and their Jeff Pecon Orchestra
has been a favorite band on the Cleveland-Style scene.
Two all-time Cleveland-Style hits were also chosen by voters. "The Café Polka" was
written by America's Polka King Frank Yankovic in 1946 and is best known for its
refrain of "E-I-E-I-E-I-O." "Slovenia," a waltz penned in 1974 by Vilko and Slavko
Avsenik in tribute to their native country, has become one of Slovenia's most beloved
melodies. The New Song of the Year was also announced, "Justie and Maggie's Song"
by Pittsburgh bandleader Dick Tady.
The Board of Trustees added five names to the Polka Hall of Fame Honor Roll. The
Twin Cities' Denny Anderson plays banjo, guitar and bass as leader of the International
Main Street Polka Band. John Hasper is a Cleveland-Style Polka promoter from the
Netherlands who maintains Polkas.nl, one of the most comprehensive polka sites on
the internet. Cleveland's Slovenian Workmen's Home has hosted polka and Slovenian
events from 100 years. Polka pioneer Victor Lisjak was a recording artist in the
1920s. Accordionist Joe Princie was a bandleader and instructor in Cleveland and
Orange County, California.
The 29th annual National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame awards ceremony takes
place on Saturday afternoon, November 26, 2016, 2:00, in the Grand Ballroom of the
Downtown Marriott Hotel on Cleveland's Public Square. This year's all-star stage
show, "The Art of the Accordion," features Canada's Polka King Walter Ostanek, among
other entertainers. The stage orchestra is directed by Tom Mroczka. A Polka Mass
follows with Minnesota's Polka Priest, Fr. Frank Perkovich.
The Awards Show is the high point of the annual Thanksgiving Polka Music Weekend
hosted by the Polka Hall of Fame at the Marriott. The event was first produced by
radio personality Tony Petkovsek in 1963 and attracts polka entertainers and fans
from the U.S. and Canada with three days of music and dancing, Thursday, Friday and
Saturday, November 24, 25, and 26. Performers include Nashville's Joey Miskulin,
TV's Chardon Polka Band, Eddie Rodick and reigning Band of the Year, the Frank Stanger
Orchestra. The weekend is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through
a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
Dance admission Thursday and Friday is $20 per person and $15 on Saturday, including
free indoor parking. 18 and under free. Awards Show tickets are $20 each. Save with
a Saturday Polka Pass - the Awards Show and the Saturday dance are only $30 per person.
For dance and show tickets, call the Polka Hall of Fame, (216) 261-FAME, toll-free
(866) 66-POLKA, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reserve rooms at the Downtown Marriott Hotel through Kollander Travel at a special
rate of $105 per room-night, including free indoor parking, (216) 692-1000, toll-free
(800) 800-5981, or email@example.com.
The Polka Hall of Fame and Museum was founded in 1987 by musicians and leaders of
Slovenian and ethnic organizations. The Cleveland style of polka has roots in Slovenian
folk music with influences from country and western, jazz, Tin Pan Alley and other
The museum features audio exhibits, photographs and original instruments tracing
the Cleveland-style polka to its origins in Slovenia in the late 1800s. The Hall
of Fame portrait gallery pays tribute to significant musicians and individuals. The
archive preserves 5,000 Slovenian and Cleveland-style recordings, dating back a century.
Each year members nominate and vote for polka musicians and achievers in ten categories,
including from orchestra, album and musician of the year.
The National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum is located at 605 East
222nd Street in Euclid, Ohio, in the historic former Euclid City Hall. Hours are
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 11:00 to 4:00. Admission is free. Polka
recordings are on sale in the museum store.