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Despite Tornado Damage Nat’l Polka Fest Kicks Off In Ennis

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(credit: SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images)

ELLIS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – The event is one of the largest Czech Festivals in the country, and not even the tornado that swept across North Texas last week will stop the 47th Annual National Polka Festival in Ennis this weekend.

♦♦♦ Click For Comprehensive Coverage of May 2013 Tornado Outbreak ♦♦♦

The festival kicks off Friday evening with the King and Queen Dance at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Tourism Director Gina Rokas explained that it’s, “A wonderful kickoff dance and that’s where the king and queen are crowned with a dance contest.”

On May 15 one of an estimated 16 tornadoes touched down in Ennis. Damage from the twister, a confirmed EF-1 with 90 mile an hour winds, meant the city had to work overtime to clean up and prepare for the event. Rokas said, “The City of Ennis needs to be commended. The City Manager, all the staff, employees, street department, sanitation department… they have worked tirelessly to get this festival back on track.”

In all, nearly 60 buildings and several residences were damaged in the storms and certainly all of the repairs have not been completed. “The downtown area is actually completely blocked off to traffic, because we did have damage to the downtown buildings,” Rokas said.

But despite having to change the parade route and change the location of some activities Rokas said the entire community, “…worked day in and day out to get this festival ready. And were ready! We’re ready for the festival and we’re excited!”

The Annual National Polka Festival is expected to bring some 50,000 people to the City of Ennis and Ellis County.

Check out the website for more information on the National Polka Festival that runs through Sunday.

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