CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The popular Houby Days Parade will mark its return during the annual celebration this May, and other major Czech events are also scheduled in Cedar Rapids the following month.
Sokol Cedar Rapids, with its focus on physical fitness instruction, social activities and educational and cultural programs, is in the final planning stages for its 150 Anniversary in June.
Also that month, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library will host the 11th Annual Conference of Czech Schools in North America. The conference, conducted entirely in Czech, offers an intensive two-day training program, opportunities to meet Czech dignitaries and academics, and traditional Czech food from June 2-4.
The parade will be among festivities when Houby Days returns to Czech Village in Cedar Rapids for its 45th anniversary from May 19 to May 21, 2023.
Houby Days – houby is the Czech word for mushrooms – celebrates the beloved morel with food, music and other activities in the historic business district on 16th Avenue SW.
Presented by the Czech Village Association, the festival also features a Fun Run and Vintage Car Expo, and new this year, a Balloon Glow will take place at dusk on green space in the village on Sat., May 20.
The Czech Plus Band will perform from 7-8:30 p.m. Friday on the porch of Vintage Market, 95 16th Ave. SW.
After canceling the 2020 event due to the coronavirus pandemic and holding a scaled-back version in 2021, organizers still faced challenges last year, as the 16th Avenue Bridge of Lions was closed due to construction, which hindered any plans for a parade.
Some traditions continued last year, with a return of the Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa Pageant, live music by the Czech Plus Band and food and craft vendors. Sales of morel mushrooms were also a hot item in 2022, with the sponge-like delicacies selling out during the festival.
This year, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library will offer reduced admission of $5 per person, and will have a booth in front of the Kosek building for educational games and activities, and photos at its selfie station.
The museum will also host a kolache eating contest on Saturday afternoon of Houby Days.
After an absence of several years, and with the Bridge of Lions reopened, the Houby Days Parade is scheduled to return at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 20, featuring local businesses and organizations.
Members of the Czech Royal Court, sponsored by the Czech Heritage Foundation, will be crowned that afternoon at 1 p.m. at the Kosek Bandstand, followed by a kroje walk showcasing the ethnic Czech costumes through Czech Village.
See the full schedule: