This program, sponsored by the Cedar Rapids Czech Heritage Foundation, dates back to 1981 when the Czech Heritage Foundation formulated a program under which boys and girls could compete for the title of Czech Heritage Foundation Prince and Princess.
The Prince and Princess participate in all Czech activities that are supported by the Czech Heritage Foundation. They appear in many parades, festivals, and other Czech events throughout the year. The royal couple is crowned in May during the annual Houby Days Festival, held in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village. They are awarded their royal sashes and crowns and introduce their parents and themselves. At the end of their reign, each is awarded a check for $100, to offset the expense of their Czech costumes, called kroje. The boy’s kroj consists of black slacks, a white shirt, and a vest, which can be embroidered in a Czech motif. The girl can buy a kroj with a skirt, blouse, and apron, or arrange to have a kroj made for herself.
Those contestants that are not named Prince and Princess become part of the Czech Heritage Foundation’s Royal Court. Inclusion in the Royal Court gives these contestants an opportunity to remain involved in the Czech community. Members of the Royal Court may also participate in parades, festivals, and other Czech events.
Application forms are available on the Czech Heritage Foundation’s website: www.czechheritagefoundation.com. Candidates include with their application an explanation of their Czech background, the Czech activities in which they have been involved, and why they are interested in being a Czech Prince or Princess for a year. They indicate which school they attend, what school subjects they enjoy, and in what extra-curricular activities they are involved. Deadline for applications is March 1. A committee then reviews the applications and calls the candidates to arrange a private interview.