Joe Mlakar began his musical career on a button box in Chisholm, Minnesota, at age
15, graduating to a Mervar after moving to Cleveland in 1941. Joe returned to Minnesota's
Iron Range, where he organized his first orchestra in 1950. Moving to Fontana, California,
in 1959, Joe purchased Mlakar's Elbow Room, Fontana's Home of Slovenian Polka Parties.