Guests dine on the Bridge of Lions on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Organizers couldn’t have asked for a better night to launch a new event for the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District.

Monica Vernon, at right, executive director of strategic development for the District, is interviewed during the event. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Clear skies and temperatures in the 70s on Friday, Sept. 6, provided the first Dinner on the Bridge of Lions with a picture-perfect evening.

Main Street Executive Director Abby Huff said the event was sold out, (tickets were $75 each) with 436 guests who dined on locally prepared foods, including appetizers by Aroma Artisan Pizza of NewBo City Market, Lost and Found in Czech Village and Fong’s Pizza in New Bohemia.

Dinner included an entree of smoked pork loin by Bad Boys BBQ and Big Boy Meats, along with garlic mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon and pine nuts, tomatoes with balsamic reduction and a vegetarian lasagna option.

Dinner rolls were from Dostal Catering in Czech Village, with Bridge Beer from Lion Bridge Brewing Co. in Czech Village and Frico Red and White Wine from First Avenue Wine House.

Dessert included beignets from Village Meat Market, mini cupcakes from Shawniecakes at NewBo City Market and caramel corn from Almost Famous in New Bohemia.

Vegetarian lasagna was a menu option at Dinner on the Bridge of Lions. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The Main Street District includes two historic neighborhoods with Bohemian roots: Czech Village in southwest Cedar Rapids and New Bohemia in the southeast, connected by the Bridge of Lions, where guests sat at a long table that spanned the entire length of the bridge.

Both sides of the Cedar River were inundated by floodwaters in 2008. 

Designed with “old world” elements, the bridge replaced the 16th Avenue Bridge, built in 1910, after it was deemed unsafe and demolished in 1988. The design incorporated special features such as lion sculptures, pedestrian observation decks, and intricate balustrades on both ends of the bridge.

Even the Bohemian tradition of mixing eggs with concrete was integrated into the construction of the bridge in 1989.

More: History of the Bridge of Lions

An auction of bridge artwork also was part of the event, along with entertainment, including music by Analog Vault DJs, guitar music by Dave Paris and Ryan Phelan and percussion music by Russ Fagle.

Proceeds from Dinner on the Bridge of Lions support the District.

Learn about other Czech events in Iowa and see more from Dinner on the Bridge, below: