Cedar Polka Fest canceled for 2020

From staff reports

It’s an empty slate. All major festivals and crowd-drawing events for summer 2020 in Leelanau County have been canceled.

Board members of the Cedar Polka Fest decided during their meeting last night to cancel the annual festival, which had been moved from mid-June to September in hopes that the COVID-19 global pandemic would be under control by then. Instead Coronavirus infections are rising in much of the United States and spreading through parts of Leelanau County.

This was to be the 39th annual Polka Fest. Next year’s festival is scheduled for June 17-20.

“We were feeling very optimistic in late May that our new date of September would be successful. However, due to the recent uptick and COVID-19 cases after the (July 4) holiday weekend, the Polka Fest board decided to postpone the 39th annual Polka Fest until 2021 due to the risks to our community,” co-chair Lisa Rossi-Brett wrote to the Glen Arbor Sun.

Our past coverage of Cedar Polka Festival includes profiles on: Rifino Valentine, Cedar’s native son who infused last year’s festival with Valentine vodka; the festival’s energetic new booster Kathleen Bittner Koch, a 37-year-old Hamtramck native who moved here five years ago to buy a farm; Larry Bruckner, Cedar’s volunteer behind Polka Fest, and Sonny and Bernie Czerniak, the festival’s prolific polka dancers.

Photo of Kathleen Koch by Raquel Jackson