2017 Czech Heritage Foundation Homestay Program a success

Czech student Daniel White with Homestay student Brennan Bell during his visit to Czech Village in Cedar Rapids. (photos/Cindy Hadish)

The Czech Heritage Foundation restarted its Homestay program this year under the direction of board members Holly Stepanek and Rachel Wobeter. The Homestay program had been a treasured tradition for many years, but was discontinued for a short time prior to 2017. Holly and Rachel worked hard to arrange and see through this year’s successful reboot, and are already looking forward to selecting students to enjoy this cultural experience in 2018. More information can be found on our website, and applications will be available soon.
This summer, American students from the Cedar Rapids area visited parts of the Czech Republic. Their Czech counterparts visited Iowa to live with host families, attend school and visit area attractions in late August and early September.

Czech student Daniel White is shown with his host family, the Richeys, as well as Ed and Narj Steinbrech, in Solon. (photo/Cindy Hadish)


St. Wenceslaus Goulash Day – September 2017

Volunteers peel potatoes in preparation for the annual St. Wenceslaus Goulash Day celebration. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Kolaches are a large part of the St. Wenceslaus Goulash Day, requiring a whole crew of volunteers for a day of baking, while preparing the annual festival’s namesake goulash is a large-scale production in itself. For more than 30 years, Marge and Leonard Jansa have hosted a crew of volunteers at their farm in rural Cedar Rapids for a morning of cleaning, peeling and chopping potatoes, onions and other vegetables that are used in the goulash. The day is as much about fellowship and community as it is about preparing for the festival — held this year on Sunday, Sept. 24 — as longtime friends come together to reminisce, discuss current events, family life and more. Marge and Leonard provide snacks and lunch to add to the festive feel.

(photo/Cindy Hadish)

(photo/Cindy Hadish)


Cimbálová Muzika Vojara visits Cedar Rapids

Cimbálová Muzika Vojara from Moravia, Czech Republic, performed a free concert at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, July 30. The visit was part of the band’s trip to the United States, sponsored by the Czech Slavnosti newspaper.

Czech Prince Branden Knight and Czech Princess Victoria Knight, were able to meet the musicians after their performance. (photos/Cindy Hadish)

New Czech Royal Court announced

By Cindy Hadish

Families are making their mark on the Czech Heritage Foundation’s new Czech Royal Court. Three brother-sister duos, and one family trio, were among the members announced during Houby Days in Czech Village.

A new Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa also was named after the state pageant at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, which included modeling kroje (ethnic Czech costumes,) a talent competition and private and on-stage interviews.  Saddah Hadish of Cedar Rapids, the daughter of Steve and Mari Hadish, was crowned queen for 2017-2018.

Miss Czech-Slovak U.S. First Runnerup, Anna O’Renick; Steve Ourecky, editor of Czech Slavnosti, and Miss Czech-Slovak U.S. Michaela Steager, judge the Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa pageant at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. (photo/Cindy Hadish)


Saddah Hadish models a kroj during the Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa pageant. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Members of the Czech Royal Court serve as young ambassadors for the Czech Heritage Foundation in festivals and other events throughout the year, with their award-winning floats well-recognized in area parades.

Two years ago, a new title of Little Brother was added to the Czech Royal Court, opening up the program to boys ages 6-12, in addition to Little Sisters of the same age. That underlies the driving force behind this year’s influx of families.

Little Brothers and Little Sisters for the coming year are: Lars and Ingrid Landa, son and daughter of Craig and Christine Landa; Davis and Danika Robe, son and daughter of John and Holly Robe; Alexander and Grace Sherman, son and daughter of Peter and Radka Sherman; as well as Myah Morgan, the daughter of J.C. and Tiffany Morgan; Allyanna Pokorny, daughter of Michael and Angel Pokorny; and Natalie Hopkins, daughter of Emily Zimmerman and Seth Hopkins.

Czech Princes and Princesses are between the ages of 12 and 18. Branden and Victoria Knight, the son and daughter of Tom and Karen Knight, will serve as Czech Prince and Princess, along with Drake Hromidko Ainesworth, the son of Heidi Hromidko and Mike Ainesworth; and Rachael Brandon, the daughter of Jeremy and Jennifer Wills and Jason and Andrea Brandon. Isabel Sherman, whose brother and sister also joined the Czech Royal Court, will be Mladší Princezna, meaning “younger princess” and Jonathan Carrick, son of Laurie and David Carrick, will serve this year as Mladší Princ, meaning “younger prince.”

The new Czech Royal Court is shown after the crowning ceremony. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The next event for the Czech Royal Court will be the Czech National Cemetery’s Memorial Day Service at 11:30 a.m. Monday, May 29, at the St. Wenceslaus Church gym, 1230 Fifth St. SE.

Houby Days Parade Entry Form

Registration for the annual Cedar Rapids Houby Days parade is open!  This year’s parade will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 10:00 am.  The parade will travel along 16th Avenue in Czech Village.

Participants are asked to complete a registration form.  Registration forms can be submitted via mail or e-mail.  Any required registration fees should be paid using a check made out to “Straight Arrow” and should be submitted via mail.
Straight Arrow
P.O. Box 13
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406