Giants of the Earth celebrates 10 years with polka party; Mollie B returns with Squeezebox, Jim Busta Band

By: 
Jordan Gerard

It’s a polka celebration weekend when Mollie B and Jim Busta come back to town with their bands in tow. 

Giants of the Earth Heritage Center is celebrating 10 years of genealogy and local history on May 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fest Building in Spring Grove.

“Giants is celebrating 10 years strong since we started in that building [former Ballard House, now Giants of the Earth] on Main Street,” board member Karen Gray said. “And we thought what better way to celebrate than to bring Mollie B back to her hometown, her band Squeeze Box and the Jim Busta Band.”

Get your dancing shoes ready and your toe-tapping muscles warmed up. 

The music concert will begin at 1 p.m. at the Fest Building. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the center during business hours or online at mollieb.com. 

Food will be catered by Kris Weidl, and a full bar will also be available. Bratwurst and potato salad will be available, in addition to walking tacos, dessert bars and beverages (milk, water, coffee and Spring Grove Soda Pop). 

The cost is $12 in advance or $15 at the door the day of the event. 

Tickets could be in short supply by May 11, so those with tentative plans to attend should call ahead to ensure tickets are still available. 

If you’re limited on time for the day, you can still come to the event after it starts. Call Gray at 507-450-1373 to check on availability.

For those wishing to dance along to the polka music or other varieties of music that will be played, there are dance lessons by Squeeze Box’s Patsy Linehan, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., free of charge.

And you might be wondering if it’s difficult to polka?

“Not at all,” says Mollie B. “The basic steps happen in six counts, and you’re basically moving back and forth and constantly switching your feet.”

It helps to have a “little bit of rhythm” for the dance. Line dancing, waltzes and swing music dances will also be taught. An ethnic dance of Germany, the schottische (pronounced shadish), may also be taught to eager dancers.

Kids will enjoy the polka hop, as it is quite easy for them to catch onto that dance, she added.

Mollie and her brother, Chad, enjoyed attending polka festivals all over Minnesota and the Midwest where their father, Jim Busta, played.

Their favorite thing to do at the festivals was dance constantly to each band and then run to the next band and dance to their music, Gray recalled Mollie’s story.

“We hope we can introduce families to those kinds of memories too,” Gray said.

While planning the event, Mollie was in Spring Grove a while ago, and enjoyed visiting familiar places, new spaces, known faces and new names.

“I got to see former teachers, like Jana Myrah, who was my seventh through 12th grade English teacher. I went to Robin’s shop [Yah Sure You Betcha] and it was great to see her,” she explained. “A lot of friends from days that are gone by. Things like that are fun.”

She is also excited for Spring Grove to hear the Squeeze Box band, because it’s different from the nostalgic sounds of the Jim Busta Band.

Squeeze Box is very creative and musical, she adds. They are able to play more current songs.

Jim Busta brings his musical polka band with their classic songs and familiar sounds. 

Between the two bands, any songs or genres of music from the 1900s to modern music will be heard at the event.

“Both bands do a good job of taking requests,” Mollie said. “It’s a good show from the beginning to the end.”

Squeeze Box will play first, followed by Jim Busta Band and then Squeeze Box will close out the show.

Currently, the Squeeze Box Band is working on a religious-genre album, while Mollie is working on a country album herself.

Throughout the course of a year, she performs at more than 150 events. Together with her dad’s band they perform about 20 to 25 shows a year. The remaining time is usually with Squeeze Box or spent in Ohio.

“I really enjoy it,” she said. “It’s lots of road time, but for me it’s not really a routine. The lifestyle is very fitting and I feel like I’m living the dream.”