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June 06, 2018 10:00 PM

The People Behind Czech Days

A small town in southeastern KELOLAND is well known for its big celebration of Czechoslovakian heritage.

But what you may not know is just how much work it takes to pull off Czech Days in Tabor each year. 

Agnes Hejna is retired, but she still has a lot on her baking sheet. 

Hejna is making 100 dozen kolaches for Czech Days. 

"I do about 10 dozen a day," Hejna said. 

The sweet treat is a hot item at the annual event. 

"We always sell out," Hejna said. 

Luckily, several other bakers in the area help take on the workload. 

Meanwhile, dozens of dumplings are taking shape at Marlene Kostal's house leading up to Czech Days. 

She and Florence Sutera have agreed to make 90-100 each. 

"We've made them since we were kids," Kostal said. 

They're involved in many other ways, too. 

For example, Sutera plays the organ for the polka mass. 

Of course, dancing also takes center stage during the festive gathering too. 

Last year, nearly 240 Beseda dancers took part in Czech Days. 

"Beseda means socializing," Loretta Kortan said. 

Loretta Kortan is in charge of the big group. 

Kelli Volk: You have to oversee all of them.
Kortan: And get them all organized so they're organized with partners. 

And they'll be wearing costumes.

Kortan is sporting what the women will wear. 

"The white, the black vest, the white apron, and the red skirt," Kortan said. 

Helping out during Czech Days is a way of life in the area. 

"I guess my role is just like everybody else. You work in the different food stands; you take your turn," Frances Honner said. 

Chairman Dennis Povondra says about 500-600 people from Tabor and surrounding communities help out at some point each year for Czech Days. 

The women you've just met are among those who have been involved for several decades. 

"They're dedicated, hardworking, they are proud of their community, proud of their heritage and that's what keeps our celebration going," Povondra said. 

So why are they still getting involved after all these years? 

"It's in my heart and I need to do it," Kortan said. 

Kelli Volk: Why do you continue to do this?
Hejna: Well, I guess the tradition has to carry on. 

Hejna says she hopes younger people will continue to stay involved with the event, but that doesn't mean she's ready to hang up her apron. 

"As long as I can, I'm going to do it," Hejna said. 

After all, there are kolaches to be made. 

Czech Days are on June 15 and 16. 

You can find everything from polka dancing lessons to a parade. 


© 2018 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.

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