My tather’s hometown of Clarkson, Nebraska, celebrated the 50th anniversary of its annual Czech Days festival this summer. How well I remember attending the street festivals, with lots of polka and “oom-pah” music. My aunt and other women made wonderful kolaches, filled donuts and other pastries, and meals were set out in the Clarkson Opera House. My parents enjoyed the street dancing, sometimes decked out in Bohemian folk costumes my grandmother made.
The downtown area is basically the same, with three blocks of Main Street, and the bakery near the Brass Rail. The Bluebird Nursery, since 1958, has kept the town thriving; unfortunately its founder died last week in a tragic accident.
I spent the weekend with second cousins on their farm just outside town. They told me the town siren still sounds every Saturday night at 6–a test for fire and safety. But it used to signal a big night, with all the farmers’ families coming to town to shop.
We went to evening Mass at the Catholic church Saturday, and just as the bells started to ring for 6 p.m. services, the siren also sounded!
Read more about the anniversary here.