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39th Czechoslovakian Community Festival held this weekend in Phillips

Dancers in traditional outfits perform on stage at the 2022 festival
Courtesy of the Czech-Slovak Festival website, used with permission of organizers
Dancers in traditional outfits perform on stage at the 2022 festival

The 39th Phillips Czechoslovakian Community Festival kicks off today (Friday, June 14) and continues tomorrow (Saturday, June 15) in Phillips, Wisconsin.

Phillips, Wisconsin has a strong connection to Lidice, a small Czech town around 12 miles from Prague.

In June, 1942, German forcesrazed Lidice, massacring many of its residents as an act of revenge for the assassination of a prominent Nazi official.

The remaining survivors fled and a number of them ended up in Phillips.

Wisconsinwas the top state for Czech immigration between 1860 and 1880, so some people from Lidice had friends and family connections to our area.

In 1944, people in Phillips erected a monument in honor of those who passed in Lidice during the attacks.

It’s in Sokol Park and every year, the Phillips Czechoslovakian Community Festival starts with a memorial service in which they walk to the monument.

The memorial service begins today at 7pm at Phillips First Baptist Church and there will be a speech from Dr. Cecelia Rokusek, CEO of the National Czech-Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Then, tomorrow, the festival will open at 10am in Elk Lake Park with free admission.

Arts, crafts, and food vendors will stay open until 7pm and there will be historical displays, activities for children and even a beer garden with Czech beer and regional wine.

During the Miss Czech Slovak Wisconsin State Queen Pageant, young women of Czech, Slovak, Moravian, Rusyn, and/or Silesian descent compete for the state title.

They’ll model kroje, traditional folk dresses worn by men and women, commonly called a costume, that families pass down from generation to generation.

Jodie Kadlecek is the chairwoman of the festival.

“Having the pageant, that was one of the things of trying to add that element of passing on the traditions, the food, maybe some of the stories. In order to pass those on, you got to pass them on to the younger people,” said Kadlecek.

She says you won’t want to miss out on the home-made wine making contest or the Kołaczki, a traditional pastry, home-made baking contest, both of which start at 10:30am.

“There's Kołaczki. People come for the Kołaczkis. Those are those nummy little pastries, that depending upon what region you are from, but ours are a little open face, they kind of look like a big puffy cookie and they have fruit filling or poppy seed cream cheese in the center. It's a sweet dough that raises,” she said.

The festival is designed to be family friendly. Kadlecek is excited for children to hear “The Fisherman and His Wife”, a traditional Czech tale, told through puppet form at the Corcoran Puppet Show at 1pm.

“She's been a puppeteer for 30 years. She was over in Prague for three weeks last summer. And so she's all excited,” she said.

She encourages everyone to come out and learn about another culture through the festival.

Hannah Davis-Reid is a WXPR Reporter.
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