Carnival will return at Yukon’s Czech Day

It’s back for first time in three years; 56th annual festival set Oct. 1

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Children enjoy a ride on the alligator during the last Czech Day carnival in October 2019 at Old Mill Plaza in downtown Yukon. Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. canceled the official festival in 2020 due to COVID-19 and there was no carnival during the 2021 festival. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Kolache baking already is underway as parade and craft show entries start coming in for Yukon’s Czech Day, which will see the triumphant return of a carnival this fall.

The 56th Annual Oklahoma Czech Festival will be Saturday Oct. 1 in Yukon – the “Czech Capital of Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. plans and presents this grand celebration of Czech heritage and culture.

“We’re hoping to have a bigger and better festival,” Oklahoma Czechs President Marjorie Jezek said. “We’re coming back strong.”

Oklahoma Czechs’ official fall festival in downtown Yukon was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions before returning in October 2021 … but without the always-popular carnival.

“This year, we should be back to normal,” said Jezek, in her 17th year as Oklahoma Czechs’ president.

Part of being “back to normal” Oct. 1 will be staging the Czech Day carnival in Old Mill Plaza. The last carnival was in October 2019 – three years ago.

“The carnival is confirmed,” said Jezek, who has chaired this festival for 20 years. “That’s something everybody really looks forward to.”

It’s also a huge draw that weekend.

Besides the carnival, this year’s festival will feature a parade along Main Street, pivo garden, food booths, authentic Czech music and dancing, and crowning of new Czech-Slovak royalty.

Many activities will center around the Czech Building at 5th and Cedar, known as the festival “hub.”

Oklahoma Czechs volunteers will sell klobasy sandwiches, souvenirs and kolache. Kolache baking crews recently began preparing 2,500 dozen of these treat-filled Czech pastries.

After royalty and parade winners are announced in the afternoon, attention will shift to Yukon Czech Hall (205 N Czech Hall Road) for an annual coronation ball and dance.

Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. folk dancers perform the Men’s Silesian Axe Dance during the 55th Annual Oklahoma Czech Festival in October 2021 outside the Czech Building at 5th and Ash: Clockwise from left, Seth Pruett, Elise Holguin, Martin Parizek, and Katie Clayman. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
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ANNUAL PARADE, ROYALTY, CRAFTS

Oklahoma Czechs parade chairman Jaime Olvera recently started sending out this year’s parade applications, which should be returned by Sept. 1.

Civic groups, businesses, churches, and other organizations are encouraged to complete an application soon, so their entry has a preferred placement along the parade route.

Parade entries exceeded 100 for the 2021 festival. Organizers expect to surpass that total this time.

Anyone interested should contact Olvera at (405) 210-0210 or oklahomaczechparade@yahoo.com.

Meanwhile, applications for the 2022-23 Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Queen, Junior Queen, Prince, and Princess are due by Aug. 15.

The pageant will be staged Sunday, Sept. 25 at Yukon Czech Hall.

Reigning royalty are Queen Anna Sedivy-Thompson of Edmond, Junior Queen Aspen Hein of Yukon, Princess Kennedy Myrick of Yukon, and Prince Seth Pruett of Prague.

For details, contact pageant director Debbie Kessler at okczechslovakpageant@gmail.com.

Jezek returns for her 22nd year as the Czech Festival craft show chairman. There were some 150 booths last year, and more than half the spaces already are filled for Oct. 1.

To reserve a craft booth, call Jezek at (405) 206-8142 (no texting).

Vendor requests also are being accepted for about 30 food booths that will line both sides of 5th Street.

The Oklahoma Czech Festival is Yukon’s largest special event, traditionally held on the first Saturday in October.

To celebrate the City of Yukon’s 75th anniversary, the lodges of Yukon Czech Hall began this festival in 1966.

Oklahoma Czechs’ goal is to preserve and share the old Czech customs so dear to the people of Czech descent.

These customs, including recipes, kroje, songs, and dances, have been handed down from generation to generation.

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