South Central Nebraska Czech Society calls 45th annual festival a success

Published: Jul. 17, 2021 at 9:46 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - At the South Central Nebraska Czech Festival, there is a special event many attendees look forward to — the crowning of the South Central Czech queens. Typically, the queens are around 20 years old, but things are a little different this year.

“Because I was over 100 years old, I didn’t know they were going to do it, it was a surprise, and what a fun time I’ve had being their honorary queen,” said the South Central Nebraska Honorary Queen, Georgia Bishel.

Bishel is 102 this year, but she has been attending the South Central Nebraska Czech festivals since the organization was first formed 45 years ago.

With COVID-19 having an affect on the South Central Czech Society and their number of members, the organizations President Dave Hajny, was a little concern about the turnout of this year’s festival.

“It’s harder every year because we have less and less involvement, with the people that we have left here, as you can see we have a little bit older of a crowd here,” Hajny said. “It’s hard to get anybody my age.”

Though he was a bit nervous beforehand, he said the turn out was better than expected — And Bishel had to agree.

“I was just amazed when I walked in , to see this placed filled with people enjoying our Czech traditions and the music and the laughter and fun, it’s been a wonderful, wonderful morning with so many queens,” Bishel said.

One of the queens who made an appearance Saturday planned to compete for the title of the national Czech queen during the festival in Wilber, Nebraska a few weeks following the South Central Czech’s.

Though the South Central Festival is usually a bit smaller than the one in Wilber, Bishel said the Czech traditions and festivities were so memorable she couldn’t choose a favorite part of the day.

“I have so many favorite parts about today it’s hard to explain,” Bishel said. “I think, walking in the door and so many many friends here. And everybody alive with excitement about what was going on. The music, the visiting and just everything has been special.”

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