Exeter Farmer's Market

Oktoberfest kicks off with a Bavarian celebration at the Exeter Farmer’s Market.  Walter Ostenak (the Polka King) will set the tone while market-goers enjoy samples from local wineries and breweries as well as traditional German sausage paired with mustard and sauerkraut!  

Walter O

Three Time Grammy Award Winner

The Walter Ostanek Story

The story of Canada’s Polka King, Walter Ostanek, begins in the small town of Duparquest, Quebec.  When he was four, Walter’s family moved to St. Catharines, Ontario and by the age of nine Walter began playing the button diatonic accordion.  At age 12, he received his first piano accordion and only four years later received his first piano accordion.  Four years later, in 1951, he broaden his horizons and formed his own group, his first County-Western/Polka Band.

Two years later, he had joined the Abbie Andrew and the Canadian Ranch boys, and was an instrumental part of their thrice-weekly radio show.

At age 22, Walter felt he was ready to proceed on his own and in January 1957 his new band played its first engagement at the German Village in Niagara Falls.  The day had finally come, after 13 years of study, hard work and determination.  Walter’s dream had come true; the Walter Ostanek Band was now a reality.

In his leisure time, Walter favours a quiet evening at home where he immerses himself in this favour music including Polkas and Country.   Other favourite pastimes are collecting Polka and Country LP’s and CD’s, autographs, photography and videos or DVD recordings.    Some of Walter’s favourite artists are America’s Polka King, Frankie Yankovic; and Country artists Ray Price, George Straight, Randy Travis, George Jones, Alan Jackson and Clint Black to name just a few.

To Walter, the title “Canada’s Polka King” is much more than just a name.  It is, to Walter, a special honour that carries with it an obligation to a special dedication and a promise to his fans and followers that wherever and whenever the Walter Ostanek Band appears in public, the band will do their utmost to please the audience.  It is through this special kind of hard work and dedication Walter has managed many memorable accomplishments which include

  • Three Grammy Awards
  • 42 years of Oktoberfest for the Lions Club, Kitchener,
  • 35 years weekly radio show on CHOW 1470AM, Welland
  • Several TV Appearances – 1994 Juno Award’s, Tommy Hunter, Lawrence Welk, Grand Ole Opry and Rick Mercer, among others
  • Several international tours including Slovenia, Holland, Italy, Austria, USA
  • Recording 104 LP’s / 20 singles / 45 RPM releases
  • 1974 Gold Record Award from ARC Recording Co, Toronto
  • Over 100 citations, plaques and awards
  • Keys to the City from Collingwood and Niagara Falls in Ontario as well as Youngstown and Euclid, both in Ohio, USA
  • Canadian Entertainment Hall of Fame (2019)

Onstage, he and his fellow musicians bring a happy blend of enthusiasm and mutual respect to their fans.  Walter’s love of good music combined with great talent create a winning combination and have earned him the name “Canada’s Polka King.”

Walter lives in St. Catharine’s with his wife of 62 years, Irene.  They have two children.