In 1987, as part of my Indiana Arts Commission grant project on Ethnic Dance Music in Northern Indiana, I visited South Bend to witness one of the largest Dyngus Day celebrations in the United States. A notable Hoosier I met that day was Frank O’Bannon, who was then running for the Democratic nomination for governor. He settled for the office of Lieutenant Governor the following year. In 1996, he was elected governor, and led the state through a period of prosperity. His second term in office was cut short by an untimely stroke in 2003. His term was finished by Lieutenant Governor Joe Kernan of South Bend. In my notes below from 1987, I misidentified Mr. Kernan as Joe Kearney, who was then a candidate for mayor of South Bend. But Dyngus Day is a Polish celebration, and Mr. Kernan’s opponent in the Democratic primary, Richard Jasinski, received a much heartier welcome. Here are my fieldnotes from that day.
South Bend, Indiana – songs, dance music [Polish] – April 20,1987
Dyngus Day celebration at Mike Berta’s Place, a bar
Jerry Kurdys’ Polka Party
(click links above for musical selections and field notes)