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WMNF's All Star Polka Party will benefit station

Jack Zolnierowski and his wife, Leslie Clark, refer to their favorite tunes as "happy music." What is this music that brings a smile to their faces and joy to their lives?

"Polka music," Zolnierowski said. "A lively music set to a 2/4 beat that focuses on the dance called polka. It is the happiest music this side of heaven."

Zolnierowski and Clark celebrate polka music from 2 to 4 p.m. every Sunday on their radio show, Polka Party Express, on WMNF-FM 88.5. They are known to their listeners, or "Polkateers," as Wackie Jackie Z and Mrs. Wackie.

From 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, you can join this "Wackie" couple at the St. Petersburg Polish Club as they host the All Star Polka Party to raise money for WMNF, a community radio station supported by listener donations.

Zolnierowski describes the event as a way to bring the community together to appreciate polka.

"If you want to have some good old-fashioned fun, surround yourself with nice people, forget your troubles for an afternoon, create a great memory and help community radio, this is the place to be," he said.

Those attending will have the opportunity to listen and dance to polkas, waltzes and ballroom tunes.

Featured musicians include Joe Oberaitis, Jan Cyman, Richie Krudzel and Wackie Jackie Z. Anyone who wants to join them for a jam session is invited to bring their accordion, concertina, trumpet, sax or other instrument.

Dr. Erik Raichle of South Pasadena is planning to attend the event to support his favorite radio program. He said he could easily be a "groupie" for the show.

"The music and the show is a diversion; it's wacky fun. They play top-of-the-line, quality music and when they get together, they are like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. They are each other's comedian. I really enjoy it," he said.

Zolnierowski's love of polka has spanned nearly his entire life; it's a love he inherited from his father. As a child, polka music could be heard in his Rochester, N.Y., home day and night. By age 4 he learned to play the drums, and later on he performed with major polka bands.

He has been hosting Polka Party Express with his wife for 2 1/2 years. The program is popular with more than 18,000 listeners and is the only one of its kind in the bay area. He credits his wife with the show's ongoing success.

"She brings a certain class and energy that is missing from most polka shows, or radio shows in general. If you ask me, she is the real star of Polka Party Express. Me, I'm just Wackie," he said.

Last Monday, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio presented Zolnierowski and Clark with an official document proclaiming the day as WMNF Polkateer Day.

7 Today

Anything Goes: To steal away the heart of the love of his life, a young man stows away on a cruise liner. 2 p.m. St. Petersburg Little Theater, 4025 31st St. S, St. Petersburg. $22, $10 students. Call (727) 866-1973.

Super Greek Fest: Homemade foods, delicacies and pastries, Greek cooking demonstrations, Kefi dancers and Greek music, vendors and children's activities. Noon to 6 p.m. St. Stefanos Greek Orthodox Church, 3600 76th St. N, St. Petersburg. $1 donation, charge for foods. Call (727) 345-8235 or visit

The Pink Panther Strikes Again: Comedy about the bungling Inspector Clouseau. 2 p.m. $15, $10 students. Catherine Hickman Theatre, 5501 27th Ave. S, Gulfport. Call (727) 430-2328 or visit islandcommunity

Valentine crafts: A card-making workshop for ages 8 and older to learn to create decorative cards, stationery and envelopes. Registration required. 10 a.m. to noon. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. $5. Call (727) 893-7326.

8 Monday

The Big Bang!: The musical follows two budding off-Broadway writers as they perform highlights of their epic musical, which spans the history of the world from the big bang to the present, for potential backers, played by the audience. 7:30 p.m. American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theater, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. Pay-what-you-can, all performances. Call (727) 823-7529.

9 Tuesday

Gulfport Art Village Fresh Market: With live music, vegetables and fruit, baked goods, herbs, teas, plants and crafts. Beach Boulevard. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free. Call (727) 366-4086.

10 Wednesday

Coffee Talk: For people 55 and older, the "Frida Kahlo: An Unforgettable Influence" tour and refreshments. 10:30 a.m. to noon. Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. Included with admission. Call (727) 896-2667 or visit

Hate Mail: Comedy about the colliding worlds and crazed correspondence between a young couple. $20, $15 students. Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. 8 p.m. Call (727) 895-6620.

11 Thursday

Wee-time at Weedon: Children can hear the story of an out-of-the-ordinary community living in small outdoor quarters in Anthony D. Fredericks' book Under One Rock: Bugs, Slugs and Other Ughs. Includes story-related crafts, games and other hands-on activities. Best for ages 3-5. 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. Weedon Island Preserve , 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. Free, but registration is required. (727) 453-6500. weedon

12 Friday

We the Kings: Bradenton's commercial emo-pop band crosses the bridge for a Take Action Tour performance. Also appearing are Mayday Parade, A Rocket to the Moon and There for Tomorrow. $17 advance, $20 day of show. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 6 p.m. Call (727) 895-3045.

13 Saturday

Downtown Art Walk: St. Petersburg Downtown Arts Association gallery tour. Enjoy a festive evening of art, guest artists and art-related events. Visit a variety of participating galleries from 30th Street to the downtown waterfront. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 323-2787.

Sounds of Saturday: The outdoor music series in the waterside courtyard features Maxi and Company. At the same time, Saturday Afternoon Fun with face painting and a character from Fritzy Bros. One Man Circus will be on the first level of the Pier. 1 to 4 p.m. Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free. Call (727) 821-6443.

Suncoast Classic: Pediatric Services of Florida sponsors USATF-certified 10K and 5K, as well as a wheelchair race, a 1-mile run and a kids' fun run to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Tampa Bay. Wheelchair race starts at 7:55 a.m., 5K and 10K start at 8 a.m., 1-mile at 9 a.m. and fun run (ages 9 and younger) at 9:30 a.m. BayWalk, 151 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $35 for 5K and 10K, $15 for the mile, $10 kids' fun run. (727) 865-4297 or visit

Quilts and Other Delights: Exhibit of more than 200 quilts and a selection of antique quilts and quilting demonstrations at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m., and an area of vendor displays. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, 6315 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $5. Call (727) 347-1226.

If you go

WMNF's All Star Polka Party

When: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.


Where: St. Petersburg Polish Club, 1343 Beach Drive SE, St. Petersburg

Tickets: $5; can be purchased in advance by calling WMNF at (813) 238-8001 or by e-mailing

Information: visit

WMNF's All Star Polka Party will benefit station 02/06/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 5, 2010 3:51pm]
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