Czech parade entries slow arriving

Increased variety sought for Oct. 7th Czech Day event

Oklahoma Czechs parade chairman Jaime Olvera chats with parade judges during the 2022 Oklahoma Czech Festival in Yukon: From left, Rob O’Hara, Jaime Olvera, Gloria Olvera, and Susan O’Hara. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Associate Editor

With Yukon’s Czech Day less than six weeks away, festival organizers are looking to increase the variety of parade entries.

Paul Francel holds the United States’ flag as he leads Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. members down Yukon’s Main Street during last year’s Czech Day parade. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

“Our parade is open and free to anybody who would like to get involved,” said Jaime Olvera, now in his third year as the Oklahoma Czechs’ parade chairman. “I’m just encouraging people to reach out to me to get signed up.”

The official parade application deadline is Sept. 1 – but some late entries are always accepted.

“The sooner you get your application in, the better your placement will be in the parade,” Olvera emphasized.

The Oklahoma Czechs Inc. will present the 57th Annual Oklahoma Czech Festival on Saturday, Oct. 7 in Yukon.

The parade coordinator is noticing entries are coming in slower this time.

“I started earlier this year but I’m not to 25 people yet,” Olvera shared. “I’m just now starting to hear from groups that have been in the parade.

“The parade helps bring all the people to town to spend time together and to learn the Czech culture, see the dancers, the craft booths, the food booths – and of course, the kolache.”

The 2022 Yukon Czech Day parade featured 111 entries.

Yukon’s epic Czech heritage celebration is presented on the first Saturday each October in the “Czech Capital of Oklahoma.”

Thousands of people will line both sides of Main Street for the traditional parade, which starts at 10 a.m. with the Yukon High School marching band and emergency vehicles.

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

“This year’s parade theme is dinosaurs and/or Jurassic Park, in memory of my brother Gary who just passed,” Olvera said. “He always had that Jurassic Park Jeep that was in the parade.”

Featured parade entries typically include Czech royalty and dancers, tractors, car clubs, bands, school groups, athletic teams, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, civic clubs, churches, restaurants, and other businesses.

“The Shriners have already reserved their spot,” Olvera said.

“I’m hoping to increase the variety this year. I’m still trying to bring in more high school bands, and their athletic and spirit teams, from surrounding towns.”

Fox 25 News anchors Wendy Suares and Adam King will announce parade entries from the main stage at Fifth and Main. For the second time, Josh Calhoun will introduce participants from a second announcing platform in front of Sonic at 729 W Main.

Returning as Oklahoma Czech Day parade judges will be Gloria Olvera, Rob O’Hara and Susan O’Hara. 

They will select winners in three categories – youth, adult and commercial – from among the parade entries.

Parade winners will be announced about 4 p.m. Saturday outside the Oklahoma Czechs Building, 5th and Cedar. That precedes the announcement of new Oklahoma Czech-Slovak royalty.

Anyone interested in having an entry in the Oct. 7th Oklahoma Czech Festival parade should call (405) 210-0210 or send an email to



The annual Oklahoma Czech Festival, which started in October 1966, is Yukon’s largest special event.

Oklahoma Czechs, Inc.’s mission is to preserve the precious traditions and customs of the Czech people, handed down from generation to generation.

Besides Saturday morning’s parade, Yukon Czech Day with feature Czech music and dancing, crowning of 2023-24 Oklahoma Czech-Slovak royalty, carnival and midway games, arts and crafts booths, and food vendors.

Czech kolache, klobasy and souvenirs will be sold inside the Czech Building, the “festival hub”.

Historic Yukon Czech Hall, 205 N Czech Hall Road, will host a royalty coronation ball to conclude festivities Saturday night.

Music will be provided by the Masopust Polka Band and the Bohemian Knights.

Yukon’s huge Czech celebration is always the first Saturday of October.

For more information, call festival coordinator Marjorie Jezek at (405) 206-8142.