The Austin-based nonprofit Texas Dance Hall Preservation has selected its second-ever Lifetime Achievement Award recipient: Alice Sefcik Sulak. And it’s the perfect excuse to take a last-minute road trip to her legendary dance hall, Tom Sefcik Hall, in Seaton this Sunday, Nov. 17, for a surprise party honoring Sulak.
That's right. Sulak, who’s 88 and believed to be the longest-running individual dance hall owner and manager in Texas history, apparently has no idea it's happening, so if you're all about those feel-good, I'm-gonna-cry moments, you'll want to be there. The doors are at 4 p.m., award ceremony at 5 p.m., and the dance follows from 6 to 9 p.m. There's free admission for the first 100 guests (or it's $7 entry) and cake and light hors d’oeuvres courtesy of Central Market.
Also super cool? You'll be able to see Sulak, a renowned Czech vocalist and saxophonist, perform with Jerry Haisler and the Melody 5, a band she was a founding member of and who she’s played with for more than 50 years. Polka!
In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, the town of Temple (next to Seaton) will name November 17 “Alice Sefcik Sulak Day," a flag will be flown over the state capitol in her honor, and she'll also receive a proclamation from Gov. Abbott.
Sulak was born and still lives in the house next door to the dance hall, which her parents built in 1923. She took over management of the hall from her father, Tom, in 1970. Today she continues to manage the downstairs bar and upstairs dance hall with the help of her son Kenny and his family. She's been honored by both the Texas Czech Heritage & Cultural Center and the International Polka Association for her musical contributions to our state, and she was also featured in the short documentary film, Noc na Tanečku (Night at the Dance).
She is a true Texas treasure. So go help celebrate. But do keep it a secret, folks.
Tom Sefcik Hall is a 2.5 hour drive from Houston, located at 800 Seaton Rd. in Temple. More info at facebook.com/tomsefcikhall/.