CEDAR RAPIDS – Occasional downpours put a damper on the 42nd Annual Houby Days in Czech Village, but intrepid Czechs and friends-of-Czechs made the best of the weekend’s weather.
Saturday’s Houby Days Parade, sponsored by the Czech Heritage Foundation, battled through early morning showers that led to sunshine and warm temperatures later that day.
Learn more about the Houby Days events.
Crowds came out as the weather improved to enjoy the live music, carnival rides, street vendors and food of the annual festival along 16th Avenue SW in Czech Village.
Czech and Slovak Sokol Minnesota Taneční Mládež and Teens (Dancing Youth and Teens) and a Royal Afternoon at the Museum, featuring visiting Czech queens from out of state, were among events at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.
This year, the 10th anniversary of the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District coincided with Houby Days, and was celebrated with cake and free cupcakes, along with a proclamation by Cedar Rapids Mayor Bradley Hart, who also participated in the parade and other activities, including having a balloon made in his likeness.
Ideal morel conditions in Iowa over the past month — cool temperatures and plenty of rain — appeared to contribute to more elaborate entries in the morel contest, one of the mainstays of Houby Days, which celebrates the sponge-like mushrooms. (Houby is the Czech word for mushroom.)
Related: Morel reports picking up in Iowa
Winner of the “most unusual” mushroom was Brein Osborn; the largest mushroom win went to Jonathan Reinhart; Shannon Lochner won the “smallest” mushroom category – in which a magnifying glass had to be used to verify it was a morel – and Mike Haugsted won best display.
A thunderstorm marred Saturday night’s festivities and while Sunday’s weather was brisk, the rain held at bay, allowing events such as the cabbage roll to continue. The contest pits teams against one another using brooms to push cabbages around a relay course.
Also this weekend, Breckyn Pokorny, daughter of Angel and Michael Pokorny of Iowa City, was crowned as the new Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa, and a new Czech Royal Court was crowned, including Czech princes and princesses, ages 12-16 and Little Sisters, ages 6-12.
See morel winners and other photos from last year’s Houby Days and more from the 2019 Houby Days, below: