WILBER, Neb. – This town of just under 2,000 people swells by the tens of thousands during the annual Wilber Czech Festival in August.
While Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the site of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, Wilber lays claim as the “Czech Capital of the USA.”
During this year’s festival, from Aug. 5-7, it was rare to see spectators who weren’t wearing kroje – Czech folk costumes – or at least a t-shirt to demonstrate their Czech heritage.
Iowa was well represented in the Miss Czech-Slovak U.S. pageant that is a large part of the festival, along with parades, a kolache-eating contest, dancing, music and Czech food galore.
Ashley Pudil, Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa, was awarded second runner-up in the national pageant and also took home the Sokol Award for her Moravian folk dance in the talent portion of the event.
See more images from this year’s festival, below: