Czech Heritage Festival

Louis Stewart, 57, of Moulton, and Elaine Rosquist, 56, of Loveland, Colo., who have been dance partners for five years, perform at the 32nd annual Victoria County Czech Heritage Festival in this 2018 file photo.

For more than a third of a century the Victoria County Czech Heritage Society has hosted the Czech Heritage Festival in Victoria.

This year’s festival, the 33rd annual event, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Victoria Community Center. Admission is $8 per person with youth under 15 admitted free.

This would have been the 35th annual festival, but it was canceled twice because of hurricanes – in 2005 for Rita and 2017 for Harvey, Joe Janak, one of the event’s organizers, said in a news release.

The festival draws more than 1,000 people almost every year from throughout the state. It was organized in 1984 by the Victoria County Czech Heritage Society, the oldest chapter of the Czech Heritage Society of Texas, he said.

Being at the forefront for all these years, the Victoria Czech Heritage Festival offers not only quality Czech traditions, heritage, ethnic foods and entertainment but also family-oriented cultural educational activities. These are ideal for passing along Czech culture, heritage, language, genealogy and interests to family members, especially the youth who can so easily grow up missing it all, Janak said.

Texas has more than a million people of Czech heritage. At one time, Czech was known as the third most common spoken language in Texas.

The festival will have four bands.

Pat Veit, Victoria accordionist who performs in several bands, will kick off the music from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for the breakfast crowd.

Then, Fritz Hodde and the Fabulous Six, of Hutto, will play from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; the Ennis Czech Boys from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.; and the Los Kolaches Band from Shiner from 2 to 6 p.m. After a battle dance with the Ennis Czech Boys, Mark Halata & Texavia will play from 4:30 to 7:30 pm.

The Czech-style beef stew and sausage lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Other treats include fruit-filled or poppy seed kolaches, homemade chicken noodle soup and old-fashioned, Czech-style sausage wraps.

The festival will offer imported Czech wine and beer as well as the usual keg beer.

Numerous Czech- related exhibits will be on hand, plus arts and crafts, face-painting, a country store and pastry wheel for the youth, and live and silent auctions.

Other activities will include accordion lessons, Tarok card game lessons, the State Czech Heritage Traveling Genealogy Library, Czech singalong lessons, the KJT kolache-eating contest, and new this year, Old School Kolaches kolache-making lessons. All lessons are free.

To register for lessons, contact Donald Dusek, festival chairman, at 361-571-4777 or email him at ddusek@suddenlink.net.

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