Westfest 2019: An Expected Fun Time
The year was 1976. America celebrated the bicentennial year. The average income per year was $16,000. "Rocky" was the number one film at the box office. That was also the year, Westfest was founded. Since then, the festival has attracted thousands of people and helped raise funds for numerous local organizations and charities. Last year, the festival reached a $1-million-dollar giveback amount for the organizations.
The highlight of the festival that most people look forward to each year is the music. This year, there will be a nice change in variety as far as the music goes.
Lots of the well-known Tex- Czech bands will still be showcasing their talents - Brave Combo, Praha Brothers, Jerry Haisler & Melody 5, Czech Harvesters, The Moravians, Jodie Mikula Orchestra, and Czech & Then Some. Back by popular demand is SqueezeBox, featuring Mollie B and Ted Lange. New this year are two groups who play different styles of music.
The first one is Sunny Sauceda and Todo Eso. This band has won two Grammy awards and specializes in Tejano, country, rock, and Conjunto music. Sunny is very enthusiastic about bringing the Tex- Mex sound to Westfest. "I'm excited to expand our audience," Sunny remarked. "We are a band you have to experience in person to feel our energy and music. We know people are coming here (Westfest) to be entertained and have a good time. We may even gain some new fans which is music to my ears."
The other group bringing a new sound to Westfest is Bolzen Beer Band from Nebraska. This band plays German-style polka with a rock-n-roll flair. Dave Socha, the accordion player for Bolzen Beer, is looking forward to bringing the punk-rock polka sound to the festival.
"Whether we are playing a German fest in Milwaukee or a Sommer fest in Germany, we always pride ourselves on reading the crowd and playing the material they need or want to hear," Dave said. "We plan on leaving West with some new material and leaving with some new fans."
Polka won't be the only style of music played at the festival. Renowned Nashville country singer Rodney Atkins will bring his Caught Up in the Country Tour to the Westfest stage for the Friday night pre-party. Chris Knight from Kentucky will handle the shutdown party with his brand of Americana/ Outlaw Country.
Westfest Marketing Director Jessica Kapavik is looking forward to the festival having another amazing turnout.
"I'm excited for a great fest as Westfest continues to grow every year while honoring our tradition and heritage and raising funds to further our community," Jessica said. "So many are benefiting from Westfest - Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, school organizations and clubs, church groups, local non-profits. We are very excited to continue to raise funds for these groups and give back to West."
There are many other fun-filled festivities happening at Westfest this year as well. Sign up for the Kolache 5K run and one of several contests - horseshoe pitching, Taroky tournament, washer pitching, domino tournament, and kolache eating. The Miss Westfest contestants will be introduced Friday evening and the winner will be crowned Saturday morning.
Enjoy performances by folk dance troupes, shop the many arts and crafts vendors, watch the parade Saturday morning, try out the carnival rides and games, take a helicopter ride, and attend Polka Mass at 10 am on Sunday in Sefcik Amphitheater.
Admission for Friday night is $20; children, 12 and under, are admitted free. Admission on Saturday and Sunday is $10; children, ages 6-12, have a $5 admission; and children, ages 5 and under, are admitted free. Parking on the festival grounds is $5.
For more information, see ad on back page or visit www.westfest.com.