Polka music, kolaches, and lots and lots of pivo (beer), make the small town of Wilber, Nebraska, the place to be the first weekend in August. Each year, the Czech Capital of the United States hosts thousands of Czechoslovakians  (and beer drinkers) for the Wilber Czech Festival. The three-day event is a celebration of Czech heritage and since my grandmother was a Moravek and we live only 10 miles from Wilber, Steve and I thought we’d make the short drive to Czech out the festivities today. We hadn’t walked a block toward the festival before we heard the word, “dumpling” and then, we began hearing the polka music.

Lots of polka music filled the air today! (Photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

Lots of polka music filled the air today! (Photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

We arrived just in time for the Accordion Jamboree where a gazebo packed full of accordion players played songs like, “Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie” and “Beer Barrel Polka.”

Wilber Czech Dancers entertained crowds in the town's center. (Photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

Wilber Czech Dancers entertained crowds in the town’s center. (Photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

We had time to venture over to the art show for a bit before watching the Wilber Czech Dancers. Young children in Czech attire danced the “Flying Dutchman” and the “Chicken Dance” before a group of teenagers began to dance the

The detailed needle work on all of the Czech dresses was amazing. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

The detailed needle work on all of the Czech dresses was amazing. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

polka in the street at the town’s center.

We walked up and down the streets for a bit, admiring all of the beautifully crafted dresses and vests. Czech costumes were everywhere at the festival. Men, women, kids, and even dogs donned elaborate red, white, and black costumes. Sewing and needle work were also on display at a costume exhibit and quilt show.

While we were there we bought a Czech staple,  kolace (cherry, poppyseed and raspberry) and a loaf of freshly made rye bread . Then, we tried something new to us — Knedlik. For $6, we got a large styrofoam cup filled with a  mixture of kraut, dumplings, and pork. Wasn’t too bad.

We tried a Knedlik cup for the first time. It was a mixture of sauerkraut, dumplings, and pork. (Photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

We tried a Knedlik cup for the first time. It was a mixture of sauerkraut, dumplings, and pork. (Photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

I wasn’t feeling the best, but we did stay around long enough for the introductions of the Czech Queens from around the U.S. and even ran into a friend whose daughter and son are currently reigning Lincoln Czech Princess and Prince.

Lincoln Czech Princess and Prince. (Photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

Lincoln Czech Princess and Prince. (Photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

We left just before the big Saturday afternoon parade began but even so, we had a great time at the festival and will look forward to going back next year.  I’d love to see more of the Czech Heritage Demonstrations, the Bohemian Tractor Pull, and of course, the Kolace Eating Contest.

Have you been to Wilber’s Czech Days? What do you like best about the annual celebration? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.

  • This is our Airbnb, Postcard Place. It's located right in Pawhuska, just a two and a half minute drive from the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile. It even has its own Instagram account, @postcardplce. ⁣
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Postcard Place can accommodate up to six people. With comfy bedding (including clean duvets for each new guest), USB ports by every bed, make-up remover wipes, comfy blankets for tv viewing, complimentary coffee/tea, creamer, full kitchen, soap, shampoo, hand lotion, and even a luggage scale, we've tried to think of everything you might want when spending a night away from home. Of course, we also provide stamped Pawhuska postcards so you can send greetings to those who couldn't come along on the trip.⁣
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Find Postcard Place on Airbnb and book it for your next trip to Pawhuska and come @visittheosage.
  • Perched high on a hill in Tuscany is the medieval village of Montepulciano. In the center of town is the piazza grande paved with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern in the 14th century. ⁣
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Standing in the piazza, looking at the bricks, we were filled with a sense of awe at the history these bricks have seen. They've been there for 700 years so have seen times of war and peace, celebration and sorrow. Generation after generation of townsfolk were born, lived and died, and all have walked on these bricks. ⁣
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This is one of the things we love most about traveling. It gives us an authentic feel for history, one we wouldn't have if we just stayed at home.
  • We were so tickled when @thechefandthedish reached out and asked us if we'd like to take a complimentary cooking class with them. They offer private cooking classes with chefs from all over the world that you can take right in your own kitchen. ⁣
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For this class, we Skyped with chef Paola who taught us to make strawberry risotto, traditional bruschetta, and a delicious poached pear dessert that blew our minds. ⁣
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Risotto always seemed like a difficult dish to make, but Chef Paola explained it so well that it wound up being pretty easy. We spent a great afternoon with friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a great meal after. A class with The Chef & The Dish is a great gift idea, as well. Follow the link in our bio, and you can read more about our class on our blog.
  • The world is a big place, and there's so much to discover. Go places, and see things. It doesn't matter if you don't have a detailed itinerary, either. Sometimes, it's more about the journey and what you see and experience along the way, than it is about the destination.
  • During our trip in Tuscany with @italyunfiltered, we stopped at a small family winery. After learning about the organic methods they use to produce high quality Chianti Clasico wines, we had a tasting. ⁣
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Wine tastings in Italy are nothing like those in the US. They are glorious affairs complete with delicious foods paired with the incredible wines. This particular winery brought us samples of homemade, organic jams made from fruits grown in the family's garden. We dabbed these on locally produced pecorino cheese. Yum!⁣
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We're so glad that we had a local driver and guide. Stopping here was a highlight of our Italian adventure, and we never would have found it on our own.
  • The village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, is famous for these brightly painted fishing boats. The design is rather ancient, possibly dating back to Phoenician times, though it's still used today because it is very strong and holds up well in rough weather. One feature of each boat's decorations, are eyes painted on the bow of the boat. These eyes are said to protect the people fishing while they are at sea.
  • The blue cobblestones of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, are actually part of a recycling project which started 500 years ago. Iron foundries in Spain produced huge piles of waste, called slag. Rather than throw these piles away, the slag was made into blocks which was placed into ships as ballast. The ballast was offloaded in Puerto Rico when they loaded products bound for Spain. The blocks were then used to pave the streets. ⁣
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Pretty good idea, and 500 years later, they are holding up well!
  • The Overseas Highway connects Key West and the Florida Keys to the mainland U.S. While the entire road is a marvel of engineering, the centerpiece is the Seven Mile Bridge, which runs over water for, well, seven miles.⁣
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The next time you're driving, reset your trip odometer and wait until it gets to seven miles. You'll see that's a pretty long distance. And then think about the fact that people built a bridge over water with no land to support them for that distance. Pretty incredible-especially since the first one was built in 1912.

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