The first full weekend of August is almost here and area folks, young and old, will be headed to the annual Wilber Czech Days Festival, one of Saline County's most noted and celebrated annual events.
This year's theme for the festival: "Education -- a Czech Value."
Our readers in Wilber tell us town officials have spent months preparing for the 2013 National Czech Festival (July 31-Aug. 3).
Every year at this time, the population of Wilber swells to as many as 50,000 as folks traverse from miles around to celebrate their own Czech ancestry or just to pay tribute to some of the county's early pioneers and traditions.
The community of approximately 1,700 has been the official Czech capital of Nebraska since 1963 -- and of the United States since 1987. The festival itself began in 1962.
This year, Czech Days activities will include a free dance at Hotel Wilber, Czech bingo, the accordion jamboree, a sand volleyball tournament, a children's parade, an art show, dance contest, Czech dinners, museum tours, quilt show, Czech heritage demonstrations, and the sounds of various polka bands.
The official Czech Days' parade starts at 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The Miss Czech-Slovak U.S.A. Queen Pageant begins at 7 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at the outdoor theater. For more information and a full listing of the Czech Days' activities, click here.
A note to all of you who are driving to the event: The Nebraska State Patrol in conjunction with local law enforcement will conduct special enforcement efforts in and around Saline County this weekend. A grant from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety will help pay for overtime hours used by troopers and communication specialists.
If you go, have fun and be safe. And if you don't speak Czech, just tell them: Ahoj kámo! (Hello, friend!)