Perfect weather = large Dozinky crowds

Thousands of people make their way down Main Street after Saturday’s parade. (Photo by The Times Staff)

"This is what Dozinky is about, getting together, meeting people and visiting," said Frank Shima on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Crowds estimated at 10,000 people or more were definitely meeting and visiting during Dozinky, New Prague’s 29th Annual Czech Harvest Festival held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 and 21. Crowds arrived early, beginning with the 20th Annual Cruise Night, the parade of classic cars, on Friday, Sept. 20.

"Cruise Night was just packed," said Kristy Mach, Executive Director of the New Prague Chamber of Commerce, organizers of Dozinky.

There were 367 vintage vehicles, from hot rods to Fords from the early 20th century. Mach noted that Shannon Brusseau of the New Prague Rotary Club, organizers of Cruise Night, commented on the event. "He mentioned how great the Revival Band was and the people who came to Cruise Night," said Mach. The Revival Band provided entertainment to the owners of the classic cars before the start of Cruise Night.

A street dance was held after Cruise Night with the band Nudge providing music. New this year was a second street dance held Saturday evening. Mach said the band Under the Covers had great music, but there wasn’t as big a crowd as the chamber had hoped for.

"Everybody who did attend had a blast," said Mach. "We’ll discuss the future of Dozinky Saturday night."

The majority of events were held Saturday with a ceremony at the Czech Village beginning the day. Vendors providing an assortment of foods, crafts and merchandise lined Main Street.

Mach said they received quite a few compliments from vendors about the festival. One was from Paul Mestenhauser of The Picnic Basket, located near Broz Hotel on the west end of Main Street. He said, "It was a great event, we had a great time and I was impressed at how nice the people were. It wasn't as impersonal as some events we've been at. People stopped to chat with us. It was in some ways the most enjoyable event we did. We are looking forward to next year!"

Mach said there were many compliments about the food at Dozinky. There were classics such as the pork sandwiches to the ribs from the Sheriff’s Youth Project of Le Sueur County.

Dr. Mike and Kay Wilcox served as grand marshals for the Parade of Farm Pride at noon. It featured a variety of tractors, farm equipment and local businesses.

"The parade went great, that’s what I heard from most little kids who had overflowing bags of candy," said Mach.

Other activities were Artists’ Alley, featuring area artists, the annual alumni volleyball tournament and the Rick Tietz Alumni Classic softball tournament.

The Hive: A Center for Arts and Cultural Exchange had its grand opening during Dozinky. The group held a fire performance on Saturday night in front of its downtown location. Mach said the performance was well done.

The Roundbank Dozinky Variety Show at the New Prague High School auditorium was well attended with comedy, music and dancing among the talented performers.

"City crews did such an incredible job of cleaning up," said Mach. The crews came out after the festivities both nights and cleaned up Main Street.

"It was a wonderful weekend," said Mach. "We had perfect weather and everything ran really smoothly."