Funtime Polka began 21 years ago when Pioneer recorded bands and dancers at the Gibbon Ballroom in Gibbon, Minn. Pioneer produced eight half-hour programs from a July 1996 recording session, and the first Funtime Polka episodes aired later that year. Viewers told Pioneer they liked the new program so more recordings were planned. Pioneer photographers, producers and engineers returned to Gibbon to record more shows over the next few years, and Funtime Polka earned a regular spot in the Pioneer schedule on Saturday afternoons.
When the Gibbon Ballroom's polka festival ended, the Pioneer team looked for a new recording location.
In 2005, they found a new music festival, thanks in part to the advice and support of Willis Crow of Garvin, Minn. Crow called Pioneer to suggest that new episodes could be recorded in the area, and he donated funds to help make it happen. Thanks to Crow's support, Pioneer started recording new episodes in 2005. The new location was Larry Olsen's Music Fest near Lake Benton, Minn. Pioneer returned to Lake Benton to record more episodes in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2014.
Funtime Polka routinely ranks among the top 10 favorite programs on Pioneer Public TV’s semi-annual viewer preference poll. With continued viewer support, Pioneer will be able to produce new episodes of this classic regional program. To donate to the future Funtime Polka Episode Production Fund, visit: http://www.pioneer.org/support-pioneer.html