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.

  • Steve writes: When I first set my eyes on the outside of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, I was unimpressed. In fact, I thought it was plain ugly. Construction continued, and I returned several times over the years, each time finding more to like about it. Finally, on a visit with Ann, the inside of the Cathedral was open for a visit. So we went inside.⁣
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Architect Antonin Gaudi's creation is brilliant. The way he uses stained glass to bring color to the stone inside, combined with the shadows created by the shape of the stone is breathtaking. Truly, this cathedral might be the most impressive one I've seen anywhere. This place should be on your bucket list. It's worth a trip to Barcelona to see it.
  • We've been going to the @PWMercantile for a couple of years now, especially since we bought a house in Pawhuska. Over that time, we've seen a number of changes both to the restaurant and to the merchandise they have in the store. But one item has remained constant: these turquoise beads.
  • One of our favorite stops on our hosted food tour of @visitkansascityks was the @403club. Sure, they offer a great selection of locally crafted and larger production domestic beers. But they also have pinball machines. In fact, they even have a pinball league.⁣
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We spent about an hour in this fun spot, sipping, playing, and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. It will definitely be on our list of places to go again, someday. Beer and pinball are a pretty good mix.
  • On our visit to Italy, we visited the Prosecco region. While we toured a number of wineries, we actually stayed at an inn run by the Roccat winery. ⁣
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Prosecco is a sparkling wine, and people often see it as intergangeable with champagne. This isn't the case at all. Champagne is made from the Chardonnay grape, while Prosecco comes from Glara. Because of this, the two wines are completely different.⁣
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We enjoyed a tasting at Roccat, where they served us glasses of crisp, clear, delicious wine alongside some crunchy breadsticks that were just the right thing to enjoy with the wine.⁣
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If you ever have the opportunity to go to Italy, make sure you include time to head to Valdobbiandene and try some Prosecco.
  • Located in @clearlakeiowa, the historic Surf Ballroom has hosted some of the biggest names in music. It was on this stage that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson performed their final show on February 3, 1959. After the concert, they boarded a plane for their next town on their tour. That plane crashed shortly after takeoff, and the date has been remembered ever since as "the day the music died."⁣
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@traveliowa
  • Set in Millennium Park in Chicago is one of the city's most iconic art installations. It's a giant, shiny bean which reflects everything in sight. It's fun to walk around (and under) the bean and see how the shape distorts what it reflects.⁣
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Folks come from all over to see this art installation and take it in. Children love running around it and gazing into it, not realizing they are learning about convex and concave shapes. ⁣
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Standing here you'll hear a multitude of languages and see people from all walks of life there to enjoy the art. And that's why we love public art so much--it brings people together.
  • On our cruise from Italy to Greece, we made a stop in Mykonos. There, we had the chance to take part in a Greek cooking class in a woman's home learning from her.⁣
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We spent an afternoon with lessons about Greek cuisine, and how they waste nothing, not even excess juice from a cucumber. We also saw how to make incredible dishes like this spanakopita, or spinach pie. Sitting in her dining room, enjoying the light, flaky crust and delicious filling is an experience we won't soon forget. ⁣
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While traveling, we try to find opportunities to experience local culture. It's amazing how similar people in the world really are if you just take some time to see what life is like.
  • Do you remember that song from "The Music Man" about trouble? You know the one about the kids in the knickerbockers, shirt-tail young ones, peekin' in the pool hall window after school. ⁣
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Well, we got to peek in a replica of that pool hall on a recent visit to The Music Man Square on our hosted to Mason City, Iowa. It's the town where "The Music Man" creator Meredith Willson was born and raised and his legacy lives on. ⁣
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Before you go see @thehughjackman and @suttonlenore in this Broadway favorite, consider a visit to the real River City.⁣
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Click on the link in our bio to see our latest blog post about why fans of "The Music Man" need to visit Mason City, Iowa. ⁣
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@themusicmanbway

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