Around the turn of the century, a group of Czechoslovakian pioneers took part in the Oklahoma Land Run and settled in an area they called Prague in remembrance of their homeland. In looking for a way to celebrate the town’s 50th birthday (May, 1952), a Czech-themed festival was planned. Knowing everyone loved the delicious Czech pastries, it was decided to name the festival after the Kolache- a favorite fruit-filled sweet roll.
The celebration is held the First Saturday in May and attracts nearly 30,000 people to this unique town of 2,500. Women in the community must start baking Kolaches months in advance to prepare for the festival. It’s estimated that some 50,000 Kolaches are consumed during the festivities. A contest to determine the best homemade Kolaches, bread and wine is held in conjunction with the festival.
Each year an Arts and Crafts show is set up in the city park, and an Amusement Carnival is based on the south-east edge of the park with rides and games for all ages. During the event, one of Oklahoma’s largest parades starts at 7th Street on Hwy 99 and makes its way through downtown Prague, ending at the grandstand at the City park. Floats, bands, beautiful girls, horses, clowns and the world famous Shriners make up the two-hour parade.
Residents dressed in colorful and brightly-decorated Czech costumes can be seen along the parade route. Free entertainment ranging from singers, dancers, bands and gymnasts are guaranteed to please the curiosity of all. Entertainers may be seen at open Grandstands, in the park and strolling through the streets. Food and souvenir booths line either side of Main Street. Visitors can feast on the locally-made smoked Czech sausages, Klobase, and even satisfy their sweet tooth with their favorite flavor Kolache. Other ethnic foods such as Indian Tacos and Polish hot dogs can be found on the food course.
A Czech costume contest plus folk and Czech dancers add an array of color to the festival and bring out the heritage of our first settlers. The crowning of the Kolache Festival Royalty is one of the highlights of a full day of fun. At 7:00 pm, the new Queen customarily starts off the famous polka street dance that continues until 10:00 pm.