Cleveland: Polkatown USA


Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties

  • Venue:Supper Club
  • Showtime:7:00 pm
  • Doors open:5:00 pm
  • All Ages, Free Admission, Table Reservations Required
  • Free Entry

Storytellers: John Grabowski & Joe Valencic



Doors open at 5:00pm, with the storytelling beginning promptly at 7:00pm

  • Weekly series combining great food with great stories about Cleveland’s past
  • Prix Fixe 3-course dinner option just $25
  • This week’s menu
    • Beet Salad
    • Fresh Kielbasa with Pierogis & Onions
    • Kolaczki


Story topic this week…

Cleveland: Polkatown USA – Stories about America’s Good-Time Music
How did polka music from Cleveland become America’s good-time sound? Find out as Cleveland’s eminent historian, Dr. John Grabowski, and Joe Valencic, director of the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame talk about how the Cleveland-Style Polka, the city’s home-grown genre of American dance music, became a national sensation and is still enjoyed today across the country. Learn about the Slovenian neighborhood music-makers who created a unique polka sound a century ago. The music got Americans dancing after World War II when Polka King Frank Yankovic scored million-selling hits. Vintage music clips and photos bring the polka past to life.


John Grabowski Bio

John J. Grabowski holds a joint position as the Krieger-Mueller Associate Professor of Applied History at Case Western Reserve University and the Krieger-Mueller Historian and Senior Vice President for Research and Publications at the Western Reserve Historical Society. He also serves as the editor of The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History and The Dictionary of Cleveland Biography, both of which are available online. His research interests center on American immigration, public history, and the disjuncture between “academic” and “popular” history. John has twice served as a Fulbright Scholar at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. His most recent book is a history of Bilkent, Turkey’s first private, foundation-funded university.

Joe Valencic Bio

Joe Valencic is a dynamic and creative presence within Cleveland’s Slovenian-American scene. His enthusiasm for all things Slovenian inspires others to discover and celebrate the uniqueness of their own cultures. Joe’s involvements have had a positive impact on the city’s cultural profile. He is a founder and past President of the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame, which showcases the style of American dance music that emerged from the city’s Slovenian and nationality neighborhoods. Joe is Vice President and directs the museum, music archives and promotions.

When John D. Rockefeller became one of the wealthiest men in history, he made Cleveland the center of the world for a time. The ghosts of the robber barons still reside in the architecture and institutions of Cleveland, which keeps Rockefeller’s bones underneath a giant granite obelisk in Lake View cemetery – buried next to political titans, sports legends, and pop culture icons. Our new podcast series, Ripples from The Land explores the stories of Clevelanders and regional institutions that had a national and even global impact in a series of engaging conversations that focus on a history that has echoed well beyond the borders of the Forest City. From game-changing inventors, to influential artists, architects and politicians to industries, music, and food, the history of Cleveland is much more than you can imagine – it’s vibrant, impactful, and very entertaining!

The goal of the Cleveland Stories Dinner Party is to bring to life some of the fun, interesting stories about Cleveland’s past – from sports, to rock ‘n roll, to Millionaire’s Row, — the series will focus on tidbits from Cleveland’s past that will really thrill the audience. The Music Box is presenting this series in partnership with the Western Reserve Historical Society’s new Cleveland History Center. We think the Cleveland History Center is one of the most important museums in Cleveland. An unknown gem that Clevelanders should know more about, and support. It is the only museum in Cleveland dedicated to preserving and documenting the history of Cleveland. The Cleveland History Center includes two mansions, the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, Chisholm Halle Costume Wing, Research Library, Kidzibits Hands-On Gallery, rotating exhibitions, and the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel.

See all Cleveland Stories dates here.


Just sign up for our weekly concert alerts and you will receive an email with a list of shows to choose from.

Must be a new subscriber to receive free tickets.

You have Successfully Subscribed!