The Holthus Center will be a hubbub of activity this weekend.
Sunday, Oct. 20, is the annual October Czechfest and everyone is invited to be “Czech for the Day.”
Things will get started at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and kolache in the Holthus Center lobby. For a nominal fee, you can enjoy this favorite Czech pastry and unlimited coffee until 10:30 a.m.
The ballroom opens at 10 a.m. and visitors will be treated to the happy sounds of the accordions that will be on stage until noon. There will be plenty of things to view while enjoying the music. You’ll want to check out the vendor booths and the silent auction. There will be beautiful Czech glass, garnet jewelry, crafts, yummy breads, gift certificates from local merchants and an array of other items.
A favorite part of the day for many is the delicious pork loin dinner or the tasty Czech wiener dinner. Both are served with potato dumplings, cream gravy, sauerkraut and all the trimmings. The dumplings are hand-made by the busy Czech gals and are a real treat. The pork dinner is $13 and the wiener dinner is $9. A kid’s meal, which includes a wiener and chips, is available for children 12-and-under for only $3.
Please be aware the meals are served only from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The opening ceremony at noon will be followed by the introduction of several area Czech Queens who will be dressed in their gorgeous “kroje.” Be sure to get a close look at these Czech garments, the decorative stitching is often amazing. Several current and past queens are planning to attend, and some will perform their talent.
You’ll also want to see the Pizzelle demonstration by our Czech friends from the Lincoln Chapter. They will be making and selling the Czech waffle cookies from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the main ballroom.
Another attraction is certainly the Milligan Czech Brass Band who will entertain with favorite polkas and waltzes throughout the afternoon. Bring your dancing shoes! The large dance floor will allow you to join the fun from 1:30 to 5 p.m.
Special Kroje presentation
Janae Buckley will give a special program in the front lobby at 1:30 and again at 3 p.m. Janae is a former Nebraska Czech-Slovak Queen and recently completed her reign as the 2018-19 Miss Czech-Slovak U.S. This lovely young lady is fascinated with the ornate Czech and Slovak folk garments called “kroj” (pronounced “kroy”) or “kroje” (which is the plural and pronounced “kroy-eh”).
Janae has collected and restored over four dozen kroje and kroj pieces. In doing so, she has discovered her passion for research, re-creation and restoration of the heritage garments. She especially loves the vintage kroje and the beautiful handmade details in each one. On Sunday, Janae will display some of the items in her collection which she refers to as her “kroj closet.” And she will share stories about these vintage garments which she has spent hundreds of hours restoring and repairing.
And there will be plenty of other activities going on.
Don Osentowski and friends will again teach beginning accordion from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the workshop area. They will have several accordions available for you to use as you learn to play this fun instrument.
A free language lesson will be conducted by Mila Saskova-Pierce at 3 p.m. in one of the workshop rooms. She’s a retired University of Nebraska Czech language instructor and I know you’ll have fun learning the basics from her.
Judy Andrews is the children’s programming expert for Czechfest. Children may come and go from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the children’s area. A youth group from Saline County will be teaching the “Chicken Polka Dance” and “Annie in the Cabbage Patch” to those attending the kid’s activities. Around 2:30 p.m., the group will enter the Holthus Center Ballroom and teach the audience the two dances they learned.
Also for kids, there’s a free bike give-away sponsored by the local Czech-Slovak chapter. Children ages 14-and-under are eligible to register. The winner will be announced at 3 p.m. and must be present to claim the prize.
All this fun has been planned by your local Nebraska Czechs of York chapter. They do this to keep the Czech heritage alive. But you can come and just have fun whether you have Czech heritage or not.
There is a charge for food but admission to all activities and workshops is free.