By Conrad Dudderar
Organizers “passed the century mark” this week in terms of entries registered for Yukon’s big annual Czech Day parade.
“We’re up to 103 – and they’re still more asking to get in,” said Yukon’s Jaime Olvera, Oklahoma Czechs’ parade chairman. “It started out slow, but it’s really picked up.
“We are having a ‘Jurassic Park’ theme, so we’re encouraging the crowd to wear Jurassic Park and dinosaur T-shirts.”
At the stroke of 10 a.m., the spectacular parade will kick off Saturday, Oct. 7 during the 57th Annual Oklahoma Czech Festival in downtown.
The city of Yukon, proclaimed the “Czech Capital of Oklahoma,” hosts the Czech heritage celebration on the first Saturday each October.
The parade has become a can’t-miss tradition.
“There’s such a variety … there’s so much to see,” Olvera said. “Come on out and have a good time at the festival.”
The 2023 Czech Fest parade will be led by Yukon Police and Yukon Fire, followed by the Pride of Yukon Marching Band.
Among parade highlights will be the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, visiting Czech royalty from Texas and Illinois, the Corgis of Yukon club, Pets & People Humane Society, Sooner Model “A” Ford Club, Route 66 Cruisers, and several motorcycle clubs.
Other featured attractions include Oklahoma Czechs folk dancers, Oklahoma Czech-Slovak reigning royalty and royalty contestants, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, school groups, local businesses, and politicians.
Piedmont’s Paul and Lisa Francel are this year’s grand parade marshals.
Olvera suggested paradegoers “get there early” to secure a prime view along Main Street. Streets downtown will be closed at 8 a.m. as entries start lining up.
The parade route starts at Garth Brooks Boulevard, proceeding north to Third Street.
For spectator safety, Czech Day parade entrants are reminded not to throw candy or other treats at the crowd.
“They have to hand out the candy,” Olvera pointed out. “I have to keep an eye on it this year.
“Apparently, it kind of got out of hand last year.”
Fox 25 News anchors Wendy Suares and Adam King will announce parade entries from the main stage at Fifth and Main.
Back for a second year, Josh Calhoun will introduce participants from a second announcing platform in front of Sonic at 729 W Main.
Oklahoma Czech Day parade judges will again 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 crowning of new Oklahoma Czech-Slovak royalty.
For more information about the Yukon Czech Day parade, call (405) 210-0210 or send an email to email@example.com
YUKON’S LARGEST EVENT
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.
For more information, call festival coordinator Marjorie Jezek at (405) 206-8142.