Oklahoma Czech Junior Dancers wait to perform at the 33rd Annual Oklahoma Czech Festival, 1998. Photo courtesy Yukon Review
Oklahoma Czech Festival
This Yukon celebration of Old World traditions
is held annually on the first Saturday in October. During the
festival, a Czech mass is celebrated at Saint John Nepomuk
Catholic Church, traditional foods, such as kolache and
klobasy are served, a Czech Queen pageant is held, and folk
musicians and dancers wearing traditional Czech dress
Yukon was founded in the late 1800s with a diverse
population that included many Czechs. As 1966, the 75th anniversary
of Yukon, approached, the mayor wanted to celebrate the occasion
with a citywide event. Two Czech-style lodges agreed to sponsor the
affair, which provided the celebration's Czech ambiance. Women of
Czechoslovakian ethnicity baked kolache (Czech pastries) and stored
them in freezers until the festival on October 15, which coincided
with the St. Havel Festival in Czechoslovakia. Maria Fiala, who
baked 600 dozen kolache, was designated Kolache Queen. A
parade with fifty floats was viewed by 10,000 people. Souvenirs,
including dolls in traditional dresses and embroidered tea towels,
were created by Czech-Americans and sold along Main Street. Yukon
High School art students painted the windows of businesses on Main
Street with Czech designs. This first festival was so successful
that Oklahoma-Czechs made it an annual event. Since then crowds of
up to 55,000 people attend the Oklahoma Czech festival-the largest
free festival in the state.
Documentation includes a report and 16 photos.
Originally submitted by: James M. Inhofe, Senator.
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.