Entries needed – and fast – for Yukon Czech Day parade

Application deadline Sept. 1; parade chair Olvera hopes for 100

Families line Yukon’s Main Street for the Czech Day parade, which traditionally begins at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of October. The parade starts at Garth Brooks Boulevard and proceeds east before ending at Third Street. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

With a deadline looming, there has been a paucity of entries registered for Yukon’s Czech Day parade.

The 55th Oklahoma Czech Festival will be staged Saturday, Oct. 2 in Yukon. There was no festival last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems people have been slow to register for the popular parade.

In past years, more than 100 entries have been featured along Yukon’s Main Street. The traditional parade will start at 10 a.m. Oct. 2 to kick off the Czech heritage celebration.

Volunteer Jaime Olvera serves as the new parade chairman for Oklahoma Czechs, Inc., which presents the day-long festivities.

“I was hoping to hit the 100-mark again like we did in 2019,” said Olvera, who’s lived in Yukon since 1976.

Although there is unlimited space, only about 30 parade entries have come in. Registration deadline is Sept. 1.

“Get your application in to get a good spot,” Olvera added.

Among featured parade participants are the Shriners, motorcycles, tractors, Jeeps, classic cars, school bands, Czech royalty, fire trucks, and police vehicles.

Crowds line Yukon’s Main Street to watch the parade, which usually lasts 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

“It just depends on how many entries we have,” said Marjorie Jezek, in her 18th year as festival coordinator.

The parade route starts at Garth Brooks Boulevard and proceeds east to Third Street.

Anyone interested in participating in the Oklahoma Czech Festival parade on Oct. 2 should call Olvera as soon as possible at (405) 210-0210.

Members of the Yukon Police Department Honor Guard, followed by a Canadian County Sheriff’s Office armored vehicle, lead the October 2019 Yukon Czech Day parade on Main Street. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

The Oklahoma Czech Festival is Yukon’s largest event, typically attracting crowds estimated at 50,000 people. Yukon is officially the “Czech Capital of Oklahoma.”

Besides the Main Street parade, other Czech Day highlights will be a craft show, food and beer booths, live Czech music and dancing, and crowning of the 2021-22 Oklahoma Czech-Slovak royalty.

Czech kolache, klobasy and souvenirs will be sold inside the Czech Building at Fifth and Cedar. The Czech Building is the festival “hub”.

However, there won’t be a carnival Oct. 2 in Yukon.

“I couldn’t get one,” Jezek shared. “Everyone was booked that day.”

Jezek, who has been Oklahoma Czechs’ president for 15 years, also is craft show coordinator. There are 156 vendor spaces.

There will be inflatables and pony rides near the craft booths outside the Czech Building, one block north of Main Street.

When the Oklahoma Czech Festival was canceled in 2020 during the coronavirus outbreak, it marked the first time since 1966 that Yukon hadn’t hosted an official celebration presented by Oklahoma Czechs, Inc.

The festival, which was started to celebrate Yukon’s 75th birthday, is presented on the first Saturday in October.

About 50 Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. volunteers help present the festival.

For more information about the Oct. 2nd Yukon Czech Day, call Jezek at (405) 206-8142.

Volunteers with Pets & People Humane Society join several furry friends as they walk down Main Street during the last Yukon Czech Day parade in October 2019. Parade entry deadline is Sept. 1 for the Oct. 2nd Oklahoma Czech Festival. Call Jaime Olvera at (405) 210-0210 to register. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)