Ennis is a small town about 40 miles south of Dallas.

Polka is Czech country music dancing.

In Texas, Czech culture has flourished and morphed into a Tex-Czech hybrid of sorts, at least in Ennis.

And a few other towns, like West and Caldwell, with their competing claims of being Czech cultural centers and sources of good Kolaches (Czech pastries). But it is Ennis where the National Polka Festival takes place. Over 50,000 Tex-Czech aficionados flood the town. Polkaing into the night in 3 different Polka Halls featuring various forms of Polka. This is not the place to be for anyone with a fear of accordions or oompah bands. The Ennis National Polka Festival begins with a parade, which is what we will mostly be looking at here.

The Ennis Polka Parade was advertised as having over 200 floats. Visions of 100s of Rose Bowl type Parade floats, or even Granbury 4th of July type floats were quickly discarded with the realization that in Ennis the definition of parade float is very liberal. Any pickup pulling a flatbed is a float. A horse pulling a wagon is a float. As you will see, maybe even a guy walking his dog is a float in the Ennis Polka Festival Parade.

All of which in its sum total made this a very fun parade to watch.

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Ennis, Texas
A polka festival sign hovers over the Ennis town sign.
National Polka Festival

Parade watchers as far as the eye can see.

Polka Dancing Elderly Lady This static photo does not do justice to the animated polka motions on this moving float. The lovely lady in the foreground could easily have been Miss Tex-Czech sometime in the last century.
Ennis Parade Watchers The forward line of parade watchers are out in the full sun zone. The line further back is getting some benefit of shade from awnings.
Cowboy Polka with Dog This Texas cowboy took one of his herd with him to watch the parade.

Marching Republican Polka Women It is not known if this phalanx of Republican women is protesting the recent exodus to Oklahoma of the Texas Legislature's Democrats.
A boat float in the Ennis Polka Parade

It would seem this 'float' should have won the prize for Best Use of a Blue Tarp. But that would be only to the eyes of the uninformed observer. What appears to be a blue tarp is 1actually a thin blue plastic sheet stuffed with tissue paper to create waves mimicking water. This float represents one of the boats that came from Czechoslovakia (a landlocked country, the boats must have floated a river to the sea) and was all hand made2 by Ennisites who truly enjoy and are extremely proud of their Czech heritage.

1 source: the blue tarp gang of Ennis...
2 It is not known how the float builders handmade the blue plastic sheet...

A boy and his dog following a car in the Ennis Polka Parade

As we said, the definition of float seemed very broad for this parade. As did the requirements for a parade entry. Here we see a boy and his dog followed by an old car.

Another boy and his dog in the parade

The boy and his dog seem to get a lot of attention from the parade viewers. Perhaps the dog did a heroic deed or is the town mascot.

Above note the brick paved street the boy and his dog are walking on. In Fort Worth there is a brick paved street called Camp Bowie Boulevard. It is rather rough in places, although it is gradually being renovated, block by block. In articles in Fort Worth's Star-Telegram about the ailing Camp Bowie bricks reporters have actually written that it is so hard to fix because brick paved streets just don't exist anymore and so the skills to repair them are hard to come by. When asked why such a rundown street is allowed to exist, the ears of Eyes on Texas have actually heard native Fort Worthers say that Camp Bowie Boulevard is unique and such things don't exist elsewhere. A stunned look occurs when the native is told by the non-native Texan that many small towns in Texas have brick paved squares and streets. Pike Place and Pioneer Square in Seattle have brick paved streets, albeit always in good condition, so in that way they are different than Fort Worth's Camp Bowie Boulevard. Maybe all the skilled paved brick workers moved to the west coast. Or to Ennis.
A mini-semi truck in the Ennis parade

Last week it was little cars in Waxahachie. This week it's little semi-trucks in Ennis. Have these people not heard that everything is bigger in Texas? Not smaller.

Some Polka Lovers From the bed of a pickup this group of Polka Lovers is soliciting for people to join their "Polka Lovers Klub of America".
One of 200 Ennis Parade floats Here we see all the people the PLKA have convinced to join their Klub, being pulled behind the pickup in one of the parade's 200 'floats'.
Rock and Rolling Polka Shiners A group of rock and rolling Shriners playing from the trailer of a full-size semi-truck.
Old Car Polka Floats It is not known if the long line of old cars were counted as 'floats'.
Pickup Bed Parade Viewing Platforms The bed of pickup trucks is a popular viewing platform. Here we are looking across the street at a mysterious stranger on the grassy knoll, and a group of senior Texans watching the passing 'floats' from their pickup bed. Let's cross the street and watch the parade for awhile from the perspective of the pickup bed.
The Commercial Float Winner The Commercial Float winner is passing by the pickup. This 'float' was for Ennis Chiropractic. And it featured a big vertebrae. It could not be discerned if the vertebrae had been adjusted.
A Parade Float Pickup This is an only in Texas moment. Here we see a parade 'float' pickup passing by the viewing pickup.
It seems as if this 'float' should have won the prize for best use of red, white and blue.
A Tractor Float The viewers in the pickup bed perked up at the passing tractor.
A Miniature Float Another miniaturized 'float', this stage coach appeared to be pulled by a very small over worked oxen.
A Covered Wagon Ennis Polka Parade Float A full-sized wild west type float. This one advertising Chisholm Real Estate. And to make it real clear what they sell the sign clearly states that they sell real estate. It is not known if these Chisholm's are related to the Trail Chisholm's who contacted us because we were spelling their name wrong.
First Place Ennis Polka Parade Float The first place float, the Chamber President's Award.
First Place Mystery Float A close up look at the first place float. If you know what this float is about, please enlighten us.
Female Odd Fellows This 'float' indicated it was transporting Odd Fellows. But these looked like women to us.
The Odd Fellows in the above photo looked as if they wanted to do what the girls in this photo were doing. Here it looks as if they've thrown one of the girls too high and she's gotten stuck on a sign post.
Tex-Czech Elvis in the Ennis Polka Parade This Tex-Czech Elvis-like rocker and his back up singers caused polka rocking among the parade watchers as their 'float' moved along the parade.
Cheering the Coors Lite Float This seemed a bit inappropriate. The Ennis High School drill team was cheering behind the Coors Lite 'float'. The drill team did seem to maintain a safe distance from the beer 'float'.
Polka Chicken Dancers No polka festival can really be a polka festival without chicken dancers.
Polka Cowboys in the Ennis Parade And no parade can take place in Texas without cowboys and girls on horses. Since the horses have now appeared this must be the end of the parade.
Czech Hot Pants As is common at most festivals, the Ennis National Polka Festival has an arts and crafts and vendors area, with music. It is not known if what we are seeing here are Czech hot pants. The Tex-Czech crowd seemed to have a lot of babies.
A baby dog in a stroller There are no ugly babies. But some are cuter than others. This one was real cute.

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