CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The St. Wenceslaus Church Czech Goulash Day marked a milestone of 100 years on Sept. 25, 2022.
Brisk winds did not deter from sunny skies and pleasant temperatures, as crowds lined up for food, music, games and more to celebrate the festival’s centennial.
See photos from the 2021 Czech Goulash Day
Annual parish fundraisers at St. Wenceslaus date back to 1894, then known as the Bazaar. The Bazaar was suspended during World War I, but the parish fundraisers resumed in 1922.
Czech Goulash Day features its namesake goulash – what some might consider a beef and vegetable stew — and kolaches, a fruit-filled traditional Czech pastry.
A morning Mass was followed by the Iowa Accordion Club; Barefoot Becky & the Ivanhoe Dutchmen; Svetlusky dancers and singer Sam Joens.
Food, raffles, Bingo and a kids zone were also part of the festivities on the church grounds at 1224 Fifth St. SE. Festival-goers could also tour the church, built in 1904.
St. Wenceslaus sustained damage during Iowa’s August 2020 hurricane-strength derecho when straightline winds of up to 140 mph tore through Cedar Rapids. Winds ripped off the roof of the church’s Glovik Parish Center, a 1926 gymnasium that serves as the hub of social activities.
The festival was suspended due to the damage in 2020, but resumed last year. The church was also hard-hit during unprecedented flooding in 2008.
St. Wenceslaus, founded in 1874 by Bohemian immigrants, is a Czech National Parish, meaning any Catholic of Czech origin can be a member, regardless of parish boundaries.
See photos of another Czech festival — Houby Days — and more from the Czech Goulash Day centennial:
Wonderful photos of this special event. It used to be my home parish before I left Cedar Rapids and The USA. I am still a member even while I live in Podivin, Czech Republic. I was active in The CCD teaching and a member of both the adult choir and the guitar Mass group. My Babi and one of her brothers paid for one of the stained glass windows of St. Cyril. I have visited all of the places that are painted in the church here as they are shrines.
Thank you for your message, John! We’ll take a closer look at the St. Cyril window next time. Fascinating history!
I love to see pictures of the Iowa Accordion Club. Since I am in it, it is hard to take them myself.
Thanks for your note, Joyce! Always nice to see your group perform!