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Costumed Czech dancers dance around the Maypole, June 1993
Costumed Czech dancers dance around Maypole at the Clarkson Czech Festival each year. Photo: Aimee Tomasek, June 1993

Clarkson Czech Festival

This celebration takes place the last weekend in June. It features costumed beseda dance groups, both child and adult; a Maypole dance performed by young girls; and a button key accordion concert of as many as 60 players at a time. Czech music is also performed by the Clarkson Band and in group sing-alongs. Public dances to waltz and polka music are held in the streets, taverns, and the Opera House. An arts fair showcases Old World traditions such as fine needlework, lace-making, rug-weaving, carding of wool, and making pastry brushes from goose feathers. Demonstrations of pastry-making are given, and the strudl, kolaches, and listy produced are for sale afterward. Among the other authentic foods available is the Czeska buchta, a sandwich of roast pork, sauerkraut, and cheese. A tournament in the European card game of taroks is held and a trophy awarded to the champion. Sunday evening there is an hour-long parade of marching bands covering a mile-long route. Czech language dramas and Sokol gymnastic demonstrations are given by groups from other festivals. Both the Catholic and Presbyterian churches of Clarkson offer special Czech language worship services. Begun in 1963, the Clarkson festival preserves the heritage of early settlers in the "Bohemian Alps", a region of eastern Nebraska heavily settled by Czech immigrants.

The Czech Festival is documented in text, photographs, promotional materials, news clippings, and a book of Czech recipes.

Originally submitted by: Doug Bereuter, Representative (1st District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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