Sefcik Hall: Visited Nov. 17, 2019

Sefcik Hall (pronounced Chefchick) is located at 800 Seaton Rd, Temple. It was built by Tom Sefcik in 1923. His daughter, Alice Sulak who is 88 this year, manages the hall and has since 1970. They hold Sunday dances from 6 – 9 p.m. We were lucky enough to hear one of the best bands they have, Jerry Haisler & Melody 5. Alice was a founding member 50 years ago and still sings and plays the sax with the band on occasion. Of course it’s a Polka band!!

We had been planning to visit this hall for some time. We were excited when we counted and discovered this was our 50th hall this year! Then we found out our visit would coincide with Texas Dance Hall Preservation’s Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Alice. She is believed to be the longest running individual dance hall owner and manager in Texas history. They held a reception from 4-5 p.m. with a dance from 6-9 p.m.

We didn’t make it to the celebration but did make the dance. The hall was packed with celebrants, friends of the Sefcik’s, former and current band members, our friend Gary McKee from Texas Polka News, and even some friends from our dance groups.

There is a great article in the Houstonian magazine with a great photo of Alice Sefcik and her sax. Temple, Texas declared November 17 Alice Sefcik Sulak Day and she was to receive a proclamation from the governor. The magazine article said 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). “

The hardwood floor, beautifully preserved, was a great dance floor. The floor was packed with gracious dancers, all enjoying the music and each other. We saw many babies (one three months old!) and smaller children dancing with parents. Before we left blankets were being spread on the floor for them to nap under the tables, just as generations before had done.

The dance floor is upstairs – the stairs are rather steep and not quite straight, but that’s part of the charm. Downstairs is the bar where you can hear karaoke when the dance hall isn’t open.

Just before you reach the door to the dance hall, you are greeted with a sign advising you they are not responsible for accidents. Once inside, the $7.00 cover fee gets you a ticket for the drawing held at the break. Many tables line the dance floor, the band has a raised stage and bathrooms sandwich the stage area. A small bar at the door offers beer, soda and water.

Alice in the foreground talking to a young visitor

There is ample parking on gravel drive, with adequate lighting to find your way to your car after the dance. While we were heading to the hall, we saw the trash being taken down in the outside elevator. We wondered if patrons using walkers also used the elevator because those stairs are steep!

The building has the old wooden window covers, which aren’t needed any longer as there is a functioning air conditioning system inside.

The energy and friendship was palpable. We had a great time, even if we did miss the celebration prior to the dance. If you are in the area, make this a dance stop. You won’t regret it.

Hope to see you on a dance floor soon!

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