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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Prague Kolache festival draws crowd

  • With Kolaches being eaten and sold by the dozen and the sounds of polka music everywhere, Prague turned into a hot spot of fun under the Oklahoma sun Saturday for the annual Prague Kolache Festival, a celebration of the town's Czech heritage.


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  • With Kolaches being eaten and sold by the dozen and the sounds of polka music everywhere, Prague turned into a hot spot of fun under the Oklahoma sun Saturday for the annual Prague Kolache Festival, a celebration of the town's Czech heritage.
    Many said "Vitame Vas Do Praha," which means, "Welcome to Prague."
    Crowds gathered to watch the morning parade, including two sisters who for the first time in years returned to their hometown to remember, enjoy and have fun.
    For Margie (Spaniel) Vasicek of El Reno and her sister Linda Haidamous of Cypress, Texas, being in Prague brought back a flood of memories as their family has a rich history in Prague.
    And for Haidamous, who became overjoyed and started dancing as the Prague band passed, it was wonderful to be home again.
    Vasicek, who brought her adult son, Mark, remembered being a candidate for Kolache Queen back in 1965, placing fourth.
    And Haidamous returned to Prague this year with her youngest adult son, Nikolas Haidamous, to let him experience the festival for the first time, she said.
    And although Nikolas grew up learning how to make Kolaches himself, he purchased quite a few to take home.
    Nikolas also was wearing something special for the family - his
    grandfather's Czech vest.
    Vasicek and Linda Haidamous said their late father, Alfred Spaniel, had a klobase stand in Prague and wore that vest during many Kolache festivals over the years. The family said he also was the first in Prague so many years ago to have a winery and sell
    Bohemian wine.
    The sister's grandparents on the other side, Adolf and Marie Bartos,
    also were the early-days owners of a Prague Bakery back in the 1930s, they said, pointing across the street to where the original bakery once stood.
    "I feel the nostalgia of my family in this town," Nikolas said, and was
    thrilled to see the bakery and its current owners still have the
    original oven used by his family to bake kolaches so many years ago.
    "I see the history of my great-grandfather," he said. "I like the
    kolaches - they're very good...but I know how to cook a mean
    kolache...it's in the blood."
    As they enjoyed downtown from near the current location of the Prague bakery, they also ran into another longtime Kolache maker from the bakery, Owen Davis, known as the "Kolache King," he said.
    While he said he's supposed to be retired, Davis didn't have an
    estimate of the number of kolaches he has baked over the years, but the family was thrilled to see and meet him.
    Page 2 of 2 - One of Margie Vasicek's fondest memories growing up in Prague, she said, was being at the bakery with her grandparents and looking at all the kolaches.
    "I'd swipe one out of the showcase - cherry was my favorite," she said, adding she was also fond of pineapple.
    While for some the Kolache festival is about tradition and memories of years past, for a new generation, it's about a fun day with family.
    Sarah Wood of Wewoka brought her daughter, Daisy, along with a friend Jennifer Terrell of Prague, who brought her daughter, Jentry.
    The 3-year-olds had a good spot to watch the parade, where they eagerly awaited some candy and a chance to see horses.
    "We've been here many times - it's something to do and visit with
    friends," Wood said, adding that they always have fun.
    For Terrell, the event is something they can bring the children to for
    both fun and learning.
    "It brings a lot of people into town too," Wood added.
    Eddie and Amber Duke of Paden brought 15-month-old Devon, who had a front-row seat from his stroller to view the parade. He seemed
    especially eager as fire trucks with sirens blaring made their way
    through the parade route.
    "We come for all the fun," Amber Duke said.
    Events for the Kolache Festival, including booths and carnival, polka
    dancing and many other fun events, were scheduled throughout the day.
    Prague's first Kolache Festival was held in 1951.
    At last check, it was estimated that about 50,000 kolaches are consumed during the festival each year.

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