Lincoln Czech Festival celebrates heritage

Posted By: Camila Orti

The Nebraska Czechs of Lincoln sponsored their 45th annual Czech Festival.

It was a day packed with traditional Czech foods and activities, and the event was free to the public. The festival kicked off at 9 a.m. at the Pla Mor Ballroom on West O Street. Guests enjoyed Czech dances, traditional foods, and plenty of polka music until 5 p.m.

“It’s heritage, it’s what it’s all about so you know we try to share our traditions and our heritage and this is our day,” Festival coordinator Deb Vocasek said.

Vocasek estimates around 400 people were in attendance.

“My son loves polka bands, he likes to listen to the music and it’s just kinda part of who we are,” Natasha Vavra of Lincoln said.

It’s certainly a part of who Vernon Velik is. The 89-year-old has been playing the accordion all his life, and continues to play, even after having a stroke.

“It’s in your soul, it’s in your heart, and it’s in your whole body,” Velik said.

The Sesostris Shrine Polka Band also made an appearance, as well as several Czech vendors.

“It is so amazing, I love getting dressed up in my kroj and I love going to festivals,” Janae Buckley of Omaha said.

Kroj are traditional Czech costumes.

At the end of the day, that’s what organizers say it’s all about- tradition.

“It’s very important and everyone says ‘well why do you keep doing this,’ well I don’t want it to die,” Vocasek said.

If you missed the event, don’t worry. The Nebraska Czechs of Lincoln will be back next year. Other state Czech festivals coming up include:
South Central Nebraska Czech Festival in Hastings, June 7
Clarkson Czech Festival, June 20-22
Wilber Czech Festival, August 1-3