Sunday, August 2, 2009

Czech fest

Christy Kessler (facing camera), First Runner-Up of Miss Czech-Slovak US 2008-09, waits to compete in this years Pageant.

Story and Photos by Kyle Bruggeman

August 1st 2009 Wilber Neb: Americans are a proud people. Proud to be American and also proud to belong to a specific culture that came to America years ago. The Czech culture is one such culture to have spread its roots and spans across the entire country. The majority of Czechs have been farmers, yet those same farmers were also writers, musicians, and really good bakers.

E.J. Kopic, 83, has been coming to the annual Czech Festival for most of his life. He is proud of his culture, but is worried that the younger generations will not continue with their traditions.

Wilber Nebraska is considered the Czech capitol of the world. The town holds an annual Czech festival that brings Czech culture together. The town even has its own band called I Love My Band and includes people either from Wilber or those married to people from Wilber. During the festival the band travels from bar to bar, pushing their way through shoulder to shoulder traffic. Once inside the bass drums start pounding and the music begins. They play classic Czech music. One song that really gets people going included lyrics about drinking beer. The crowd gets more rowdy when the band plays the University of Nebraska varsity fight song. It is an event to behold in itself.

I Love My Band plays in a local bar during the later hours of the festival.

Frank Duba, 87, has lived in Wilber for the last few years after retiring his farm life just a few miles north of town. On July 31st Frank and his wife LeVerne struck up a conversation with Dennis and Rose Sulak who drove all the way from Texas to be a part of the event. The two couples spoke in Bohemian and instantly became good friends.

Frank Duba (left) his wife LeVerne, Dennis and Rose Sulak enjoy each others company just moments after meeting.