ARTICLE

Annual St. Joseph's Day Parade brings business to Czech Village

Hundreds celebrated Czech heritage on Saturday

John O'Connell, with the Cat in the Hat and the Three Czech's group, walks down the street at the Saint Joseph's Day Par
John O'Connell, with the Cat in the Hat and the Three Czech's group, walks down the street at the Saint Joseph's Day Parade in Southeast Cedar Rapids on March 23, 2013. (Kaitlyn Bernauer/The Gazette-KCRG9)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Hundreds lined the streets Saturday of the New Bohemia District and Czech Village to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day with the annual parade.

The sea of red marked the annual St. Joseph’s Day Parade through the Czech Village, an area that is proud of its heritage and says its stronger than ever after the flood in 2008.

This parade also means the start of big business for area shops.

“A lot of people come in and they’re surprised that a lot of it did come back,” said David Evans of PJ’s Czech Shop.

Evans was hopeful that parade attendees would go inside for some original items. He said there’s plenty to see in the Czech Village’s shops.

“It’s very interesting, and you’ve got the Sykora’s Bakery across the street,” Evans said.

Bakers at Sykora Baker were in Friday night before the parade to get ready for the big crowds.

“Everybody loves kolaches,” Sykora Bakery owner John Rocarek said.

Rocarek said the bakery does 10 times the business on parade day than it does on a normal Saturday.

“There’s a lot of overeating, a lot of overcelebrating. I hope one of the bars on the avenue has red beer. People will be celebrating people named Joe and Josephine,” Rocarek said.

The parade also means the start of the spring season. Rocarek and Evans hope warmer weather soon follows to lure people out of their homes and back to the streets of Czech Village.

“It means winter is going away,” Rocarek said. “We really need it. We need a boost. It’s been slow in January, February, and March. People don’t get out as much.”“We just wait and hope for the best,” Evans said.

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