Ennis is now home to a bone fide magazine cover girl.
The cover of the spring issue of Texas Events Calendar magazine, published quarterly by the Travel Information Division of the Texas Department of Transportation, is graced by Harriett Adams, of Harriett Adams Interior Design of Ennis, dancing the polka with one of her classmates at Texas Christian University, Dallas native Don Blake.
“The photo was taken during the polka contest in May 2010,” Adams recalled. “Don and I have been friends since TCU days when we were both Horned Frog cheerleaders.”
In January 2010, a large group of her friends from her college days attended the TCU-Boise State Fiesta Bowl in Arizona
“Several of these friends drive from Fort Worth to Ennis to the Polka Festival each year and stay at my house,” she said. “They were discussing the Polka Festival and someone had the bright idea that Don and I should compete in the polka contest.”
Adams said the idea of entering the contest never occurred to her but Blake’s family had a square dancing program in the early days of television with Don appearing with his family.
“Don thought it would be fun to give polka dancing a try. He was in the best shape of all of us and was the only old cheerleader who could still leap high in the air with his legs apart in a ‘V’ and touch both toes with his hands,” Adams said.
She noted that she and Blake agreed to meet in April and practice.
“He came to Ennis several times,” she said. “I asked a Czech friend to give us pointers and then critique our dance steps. Another time, I went to his home in Dallas and we practiced. Frankly, I began to be a little nervous about it all, but friends who watched us practice convinced us that we were very good, so that gave me the courage to compete with all the professionals who participate in the contest each year.”
Adams said she and Blake were eliminated early in the contest.
“You can imagine what a surprise it was when Gina Rokas called to say we were on the cover in a photo taken during the actual polka contest by someone from the state of Texas,” she said.
But even more than being flattered that the Texas Events Calendar used the photo on the cover page, she is especially gratified for Blake, because he suffered an aneurysm less than a month later and has lost some co-ordination on the left side of his body. He was in intensive care for an extended period of time.
“He has come a long way in eight months, but will not be dancing the polka again,” Adams said. “When I called to tell him about the cover and that I was mailing him copies of the magazine, he was ecstatic to have that photo memory of Polka Fest 2010.
Ennis is host to the National Polka Festival every Memorial Weekend and on Friday night of the weekend an annual Polka Contest is held at one of the Czech halls. The contest moves from hall to hall each year and officers of the halls and festival officials act as judges.
Ennis Convention and Tourism Bureau tourism director Gina Rokas said she was contacted last spring by Michael Amador, a staff photographer for the Texas Department of Transportation, who wanted to take photos of the National Polka Festival for a special feature on Texas festivals for the January 2011 edition of Texas Highways.
“Michael attended the 2010 king and queen dance on Friday night and snapped many great shots of the dance contest,” Rokas said. “Some of his colorful photos including the one of Harriett and Don, which appeared in the festivals feature of the January 2011 edition of the Texas Highways magazine, a popular travel magazine produced by the Texas Department of Transportation.
“We were absolutely thrilled and surprised that Harriett and Don were featured on the front cover of the Texas Event Calendar for the spring of 2011,” Rokas said. “This is a great achievement for Ennis and the National Polka Festival and this complimentary publication is distributed widely at the Texas State Travel Centers, CVBs and chambers throughout the state. This is an ideal photo as it really captures the fun and festive atmosphere of this event.”
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