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Photo of young dancers in costume at the Oklahoma Czech Festival
Young dancers wait to perform at the 33rd Annual Oklahoma Czech Festival, 1998

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Oklahoma Czech Festival
A Local Legacy

Have you ever eaten a kolache?

If you go to Yukon, Oklahoma, on the first Saturday in October, you can. Every year, Yukon celebrates its Czech and Slovak ancestors. Yukon is officially known as the Czechoslovak Capital of Oklahoma because so many people from the country of Czechoslovakia, in Eastern Europe, settled there in the late 1800s. (In 1993, the country split into two nations, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.)

The most popular food from Czechoslovakia is a pastry called a kolache (pronounced koh-lah-chuh). A kolache is a delicious, small bun usually filled with fruit or cheese. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, no wedding feast is complete without them. One woman, Maria Fiala, baked 600 dozen kolache for the festival and was named Kolache Queen.

The Czech Festival is a way for the people in Yukon with Czech and Slovak backgrounds to preserve and share their Czech customs, clothing, and foods. One of the main attractions of the festival is dancing. Lots of dance performances are held, and people of all ages, like these kids in the beautiful costumes, are encouraged to join in. If you aren't Czech or Slovak, the festival is a great way to learn about their customs.

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