A traditional Czech Mardi Gras celebration called Masopust takes place in Czech communities around the world the first weekend before Lent. They may not be partying in the streets, but the Czech Heritage Partnership puts on a great pre-Lent Czech carnival in Cresco.
If you have had enough of the winter blues, come to the 10th annual Masopust (Czech Mardi Gras) party Saturday, February 6, at the Expo Center at the Howard County Fairgrounds in Cresco. Doors open at 11 a.m. with a program at noon, music featuring the Jim Busta Band with Karl, topping off the event with an authentic Czech meal at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, available in advance only. Contact any CHP member, or call any of the following folks:
- Eileen Tlusty, 563-569-8744
- Steve Klimesh, 563-562-3594
- Gene Kovarik, 563-569-8463.
In Calmar, you can pick up tickets at The Flower Pot with Audrey Hurd. If you have a Czech costume, pull it out of the closet and put on your dancing shoes and enjoy a full day’s entertainment! The Howard County Fairgrounds are located at 1220 Seventh St. W., Cresco. Hurry and get your tickets, as this event brings in bus loads of people from all over Iowa.
Eileen Tlusty, 563-569-8744Steve Klimesh, 563-562-3594 or Gene Kovarik, 563-569-8463. In Calmar, you can pick up tickets at The Flower Pot with Audrey Hurd. If you have a Czech costume, pull it out of the closet and put on your dancing shoes and enjoy a full day’s entertainment! The Howard County Fairgrounds are located at 1220 Seventh St. W., Cresco. Hurry and get your tickets, as this event brings in bus loads of people from all over Iowa.
Each year in which the Czech Heritage Partnership puts on this event, I learn more about the Czech-style Mardi Gras traditions. Masopust is celebrated in many Czech communities around the world. The word Masopust means "good-bye to meat.” The celebration is celebrated the weekend before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The traditional celebration combines old fertility rites and customs, such as “the driving out of winter.” Much of us can agree, we are ready to think of spring and sunny days ahead. It is also traditional to have a parade with a variety of scary looking masks to drive away evil spirits, much like other pre-Lent carnivals that go on well into the early morning hours.
Many times when I’ve gone to this event, they also have had a skit, parade, and even young festive folk dancers all the way from New Prague, Minnesota performing. You never know what fun this event will hold each year. If you are ready for some merrymaking, “Czech” this joyful event out.
The objective of Protivin-based non-profit Czech Heritage Partnership is to promote, preserve, and enhance culture and heritage. "We are an active association of persons interested in preserving, promoting our collective ethnic heritage, history, music, genealogy, social customs, historic properties, documents, pictures, and general culture to enrich our lives, and quality of life in the region," says their website. "We invite persons of like mind to join us. While the dominant ethnic ancestry of our core region is Czech, we welcome persons of all ancestries with a connection to and/or interest in the region and in our activities." For more information on this organization, click here.