2015 Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa Pageant Returns to the Houby Days Festival

The 14th Annual Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa Pageant was held on May 16th in conjunction with the Houby Day Festival held in Czech Village, Cedar Rapids, IA.   This is a change from the previous year when the pageant was held with the St. Joseph’s Day Dance in March.   The pageant kicked off with a parade at 10:00 AM with nine convertibles carrying Miss Czech-Slovak queens and contestants.

NCSML PicTwo excellent contestants vied for the crown of Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa.   Ashley Pudil is the daughter of Kevin and Denise Pudil of Cedar Rapids, IA.  She is a student at Loras College at Dubuque, IA, declaring a major in English-Creative Writing as well as Spanish.  Ashley is preserving her family’s heritage by serving as Czech School administrator this summer. She performed an ethnic dance that was performed by the Omladina Dancers at the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society Conference in St Louis, MO.  Hannah Van Deusen is the daughter of Ray and Terri Van Deusen  of Cedar Rapids, IA.   She is a student at Coe College, planning to major in music education   She is also taking Suzuki teacher training to be a better qualified Suzuki violin/viola teacher. For her talent, she performed a violin piece composed by Miloslav Gajdos, called Zingaresca. Continue reading

Czech Heritage Foundation Announces New Czech Royal Court

h full courtThe Czech Heritage Foundation’s Royal Court has doubled in size, with the announcement of a new position and dual titles.  Two young men and two young women will share the duties of Czech prince and Czech princess in the coming year, and for the first time ever, a “Little Brother” will serve on the Czech Royal Court.  “As one of the judges, I know what a difficult decision this was,” said Janna Waters, Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa 2014-2015, who served on the Czech prince and princess judging panel.  Waters said both candidates for Czech prince and both for Czech princess did an excellent job of researching their ancestry, writing essays and answering questions about Czech culture and traditions in front of the panel of judges.  “Because it was such a tough choice, the Czech Heritage Foundation voted to expand this year’s Royal Court,” she announced during the crowning ceremony May 17 at Houby Days in Czech Village.

The new Czech princes for the coming year are: Branden Knight, the son of Tom and h welcome signKaren Knight of Hiawatha, and Bryce Buresh, the son of John and Jennifer Buresh of Ely.  Branden, 14, an eighth-grader at Harding Middle School, served during the past year as Mladší Princ, which translates to ”younger prince.”  Bryce, 17, an 11th-grader at College Community Schools, wore the kroj (ethnic folk costume) that his father wore as Czech Prince from 1986 to 1987.

The new Czech princesses are Hannah Emrich, the daughter of Tiffany Morgan and Michael Becker of Cedar Rapids, and Rachael Brandon, the daughter of Jeremy and Jennifer Wills and Jason and Andrea Brandon of Cedar Rapids.  Hannah, 13, is a seventh-grader at Prairie Point, and Rachael, 13, is a seventh-grader at Oak Ridge Middle School.

h little sistersThe new Little Sisters also were announced during the ceremony.  Victoria Knight, 11, the daughter of Tom and Karen Knight of Hiawatha, will serve her third year as Little Sister. She is a fifth-grader at Pierce Elementary.  Aislin Andrews, 8, the daughter of Chad and Danielle Andrews of Lisbon, and Ingrid Landa, 7, the daughter of Craig and Christine Landa of Toddville, are the new Little Sisters.  Aislin is a second-grader at Lisbon Elementary and Ingrid is a first-grader at Alburnett Elementary School.

h little brotherFor the first time, the Czech Royal Court has a “Little Brother,” bestowing the title on Lars Landa at the crowning ceremony. Lars, 9, is the son of Craig and Christine Landa and is a third-grader at Alburnett.

Outgoing Czech Prince, Sam Uthoff, and Czech Princess, Ashley Pudil, assisted at the crowning ceremony.  Janna Waters also was recognized at the ceremony for serving as a role model for the younger members of the Royal Court, and for giving her time and talents on countless occasions during the past year to spread the message about the program.

Boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 compete for the title of Czech Prince or Princess by researching their Czech heritage, writing an essay and being interviewed by a panel of judges.  The winners serve as young ambassadors by representing their Czech heritage and the Cedar Rapids area in parades, festivals and other events throughout the year.  Little Sisters and Little Brothers are between the ages of 6 and 12. Applicants for all of the positions must be of Czech or Slovak descent.

Cedar Rapids float-maker continues award-winning tradition

Tim Pfeifer is carrying on the legacy of his father.st joe tim

The Czech Heritage Foundation float decorated by Pfeifer won the Jerry Harrington award at this year’s SAPADAPASO Parade on St. Patrick’s Day in Cedar Rapids. The traveling trophy is given to the “Most Wholesome/Heartfelt” private entry in the parade.

irish floatThis year’s float included scenery with geese – a nod to Czech farming heritage – with an Irish flair in green. The float was reworked in red for the St. Joseph’s Parade just days later in Czech Village and New Bohemia.

Pfeifer assumed the float-making duties from his late father, Leonard Pfeifer, a past president of the Czech Heritage Foundation, who became the organization’s award-winning float-maker in 1989.

st joe floatLeonard Pfeifer died in 2011, just before his final float was entered in the Holiday Parade in Cedar Rapids.

The Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival has named the Leonard Pfeifer Award for Best Original Float in his honor.

St. Joseph’s Day Dance

Join the Czech Heritage Foundation for dancing, dinner, and prizes at the annual St. Joseph’s Day Dance!  Proceeds support our scholarship and royalty programs, and Czech royalty will be on hand!  Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at Sykora Bakery in Czech Village, from any Czech Heritage board member, or at the door.