Applications for the Czech Heritage Foundation's Royal Court are being accepted now through March 1, and new guidelines for the program will open the door for more participants.The Czech Heritage Foundation board approved expanding the criteria for new members at its November meeting. The change will allow aspiring prince, princess, little brother and little sister candidates to apply for the Royal Court if they are active members of a Czech organization, regardless of whether or not they can prove they have Czech ancestry.Adding the Czech organizations opens up the pool of candidates to Czech School students, members of Sokol or others who demonstrate an understanding and appreciation for Czech culture, but are not of Czech descent.Guidelines now state that prince and princess applicants must be 12 through 18 years of age, reside in Iowa and be able to attend events in the Cedar Rapids area. They must either be at least partially of Czech descent or be active participants in Czech organizations.The same rules apply to little brother and little sister applicants, who range in age from 6 to 12.All candidates need to detail their involvement and why they appreciate Czech heritage in their application. Boys and girls compete for the title of Czech Prince or Princess by researching Czech customs and culture, writing an essay and being interviewed by a panel of judges. The winners serve as young ambassadors for the Czech Heritage Foundation in parades, festivals and other events throughout the year, along with their younger counterparts and Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa.This year's Czech Royal Court has been busy with activities in Czech Village and at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. They participated in the Svatý Mikuláš celebration at the Artisan's Sanctuary and Czech Village Association's tree-lighting ceremony. Members also sold raffle tickets for wreaths at the Old World Christmas Market at the museum and were invited to greet guests at the Three Nuts for Cinderella movie, also at the museum.Applications for next year's Royal Court are due March 1. Crowning will be during Houby Days in May. Find more details at CzechHeritageFoundation.com. For questions, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.