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Polka Folks Dance the Day Away

Jud and Cathy Murray embraced as they skillfully swirled among other dance pairs Wednesday at the Crow Wing County Fair. The Brainerd couple nearing a half-century of marriage began dancing together just two months ago -- after a 35-year hiatus. “We’d come to listen to the music in the past, but after 35 years of not dancing, two months ago we started to get back in it again,” Cathy said. “And we haven’t quit dancing since.” The Murrays waltzed to the music of the Jerry and Joyce Dance Band, which entertained a crowd topping 100 at the Mills Free Stage bandshell near the south entrance of the fair on Senior Citizens Day. The bandshell could not contain the old-time dance music melodies of the accordion and guitar, however, and it served as the soundtrack for fairgoers perusing buildings and enjoying turkey legs. To the Murrays and the other dancers on the floor, it was as if the polka and circle schottische tunes were just for them -- a small group of acquaintances who travel the area enjoying senior dances. The cement floor was sprinkled with corn ground at the blacksmith building, part of the Crow Wing County Historical Society’s exhibit. The cornmeal serves as dance wax, keeping the dancers’ feet moving smoothly and turning gracefully.