Festival changes reap positive results

Laura DeGross, left, and Ken Kes help prepare chicken dinners in the takeout area at the St. Wenceslaus Parish Festival. The festival prepared 1,160 meals for take out and dining in the Parish Activity Center. To see more photos go to newpraguetimes.com and click on the Blue Button. (Patrick Fisher Photo)

St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church’s annual Parish Festival provided fun for families and friends on Sunday, Aug. 11, and not even a power outage slowed it down.

            "It didn’t alter the crowd, they didn’t pack up and leave," said Luanne Tupy, one of the Top Six, organizers of the festival. A power outage hit the New Prague area on Sunday afternoon. (See story on page 15) Tupy noted it did briefly stop the bingo game and entertainment, but people thought the band was taking a break. "It didn’t impact us."

            "It went well," said Tupy about the festival. The weather cooperated, overcast skies provided pleasantly cool temperatures, but there was no rain. "We had a more relaxed crowd this year. People hung around until the raffle drawings at 5:30 p.m."

            There were a variety of activities, including a children’s carnival. "The children’s games were a big success," said Tupy. The carnival almost didn’t happen this year, but Mike Bartusek stepped in at the last minute to organize the games. The carnival included a kiddie tractor ride, miniature golf and hair spray. Two items that were big hits were an inflatable obstacle course and slide.

            "He did a very good job," Tupy said of Bartusek.

            "Bingo was very successful," said Tupy. Other entertainment was music provided by the Czech Lites, the New Prague Area Concertina Club, the New Prague Czech Singers and Downtown Sound.

            The chicken dinner resulted in the sale of 1,160 meals. Tupy noted they had changed the serving time of the dinner, beginning it earlier and running it from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. She said that changing the times of the meals was a big plus.

            "They were busy the whole time," she said of volunteers serving the dinners. More people chose to get meals in the Parish Activity Center (PAC), than takeouts. "The weather plays a big part in that."

            Another change was that the Country Store was moved to the PAC. Tupy said they had many compliments about it being in a more open area. Organizers plan to keep it there next year. The baking booth also had a good year, with an increase of $1,200 in sales over last year.