By Cindy Hadish/Homegrown Iowan
CEDAR RAPIDS — This year’s Houby Days is scheduled a bit later than in years past, but given this weekend’s forecast, that might be fortunate. Hopefully by the time the annual mushroom festival begins later this month, the weather will be looking up.
Houby, the Czech word for mushrooms, are central to the festival, now in its 39th year in Czech Village.
The three-day celebration begins Friday, May 20, and runs through Sunday, May 22, 2016, with a carnival, live music, dancing, food, a morel mushroom contest, parade and more. Admission is free.
Activities take place on 16th Avenue SW in the Czech Village business district, where restaurants, bars, retail shops, a brew pub, antiques stores, bakery and meat market are all open for the big weekend.
Events begin with the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library’s 15th Annual Taste of Czech & Slovak from 5-7 p.m. Friday, May 20.
Guests can sample appetizers, soups, salads, sides, entrees and dessert recipes handed down by generations of Czech and Slovak cooks. Menu items are prepared by local restaurants and Museum Guild members.
The carnival rides, artisan and food vendors and live music begin that night, as well, continuing throughout the festival.
An egg and houby breakfast; plant sale; Domaci Czech Folk dancers; children’s games and crafts and Houby Days parade, sponsored by the Czech Heritage Foundation, are among the highlights on Saturday, May 21.
Also that day, the Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa pageant takes place at the museum; winners are chosen in several categories in the morel mushroom contest and audience members are invited to participate in an ethnic maypole dance.
The egg and houby breakfast continues on Sunday, May 22, along with a cabbage roll contest, costume walk, puppet show, raffle drawings and the crowning of the new Czech Prince and Princess and Czech Little Brothers and Little Sisters.
Street vendors, music and the carnival wind down on Sunday, ending at 4 p.m.
For a map and complete list of events, go to: www.czechvillagecedarrapids.com