Masopust returns to Protivin
Tue, 02/21/2017 - 10:37am admin
Protivin - The 11th Annual Masopust, a Czech Mardi Gras, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Community Center, Protivin. The Czech Mardi Gras is sponsored by members of the Czech Heritage Partnership.
Eleven years ago, a woman had a dream for Protivin and the Czech Community. That dream was to celebrate her Czech heritage, and that dreamer was Eileen Tlusty. Tlusty spent the next 10 years, along with many others, bringing thousands together through food, spirits, music, comedy and fund-raising.
-After a successful decade, Tlusty has handed over the reins to newcomer, Audrey Novak-Hurd, who is not a new member of the Czech Heritage Partnership, but she is new to leading the charge for the popular ethnic celebration.
“I wasn’t seeing anyone else stepping up to take over after Eileen stepped down, and I didn’t want it to die,” said Novak-Hurd. “I love the heritage part of it. It’s pretty cool. Masopust began in Protivin and then for the last few years relocated to Cresco to allow for a larger audience. We decided to bring Masopust back to Protivin because people wanted it back home.”
Carnival/Mardi Gras Roots
Roots of the carnival traditions can be found in ancient Greece and Rome. The donning of costumes and masks became popular around the middle of the second century in Rome as a way to feast and act wild before Lent. From Epiphany (Den Tri kralu) until Ash Wednesday (Popelecni streda), people in the Czech Republic celebrate with that same type of masquerading and merry-making called Masopust.
This custom has been passed down most of all in Moravia but is also celebrated in Bohemia, with each village having its own version of the observance. The universal components are the celebratory atmosphere of a rich meal, dancing, entertainment and the wearing of masks.
Coat of Arms
Each year the Coat of Arms is chosen from a village/city in the Czech Republic. This year’s Coat of Arms is from the city of Libnic, South Bohemia, Czech Republic. The very first written reference to Libnic was 1394. The Valcav and Fencl families are from there.
Masopust will start with doors opening at 12 p.m. at the Protivin Community Center.
The program includes music, the presentation of the “Joe and Martha Pecinovsky Scholarship Award,” a skit, both live and silent auctions, and a Czech-style meal.
“We have tried to arrange to have Miss Czech-Iowa in attendance as well but have not heard back from her,” Novak-Hurd commented.
Barefoot Becky will be playing throughout the day, with music ending at 7 p.m.
“Barefoot Becky, as always, wanted to perform at Masopust,” said Novak-Hurd. “She’s usually down south when we have Masopust, but this year she will be back in time to perform, so this will be our first time having her.”
The live auction, another popular component of the event, also promises to bring much to the table. In addition there will be a silent auction.
“We will also be bringing back the always-popular Czech skit,” noted Novak-Hurd. “The original Czech play was purchased with others at the estate sale of the late Mary Hudecek and translated. The play is The Misadventures of Mr. Sukalka.”
The play centers around Mr. Sukalka who seeks to be married to a woman with some virtuous and not so virtuous reasons. Actors include Audrey Novak-Hurd, Steve Klimesh, Ken Zajicek, Jim Zajicek, Gerald Busta and Ken Humpal.
Pilsner Urquel will be donating crystal beer glasses for all adults who attend Masopust and there will be beer tasting from PIVO Brewery.
“Craig and Sar Neuzil, Calmar are starting PIVO Brewery, breaking ground in April,” said Novak-Hurd. “They will be on hand to offer beer samples of their Protivin Pilsner and there will be two versions to try.”
And if the program attractions, crystal beer glass and beer samples aren't enough to cajole attendance, perhaps the traditional Czech meal will be. The meal starts at 6 p.m. and the menu is: breaded pork cutlets (smazeny veprovy rizky), Czech sausage (jaternice), mashed potatoes (bramborová kaše), dill gravy (koprova omaka), parsley potatoes (petrizelove bramborová), tomato-cucumber salad (rajcato-okurkovy salat), rye bread (zitny chleb), kolaches, rolicky and poppy seed cake (makovy dort), sauerkraut and dumplings.
“This year we have Pat and Lois Zajicek making dumplings and sauerkraut,” said Novak-Hurd. “So this will be a slight menu change and we are excited to have it on the menu. Rosie Stika will be making the kolaches and Rita Kovarik and Delores Shileny will be making the poppy seed cakes.”
Tickets are $35 and must be purchased prior to Masopust. Tickets are available from CHP members Audrey Novak-Hurd (563-380-3015), Ken and Lois Zajicek (563-379-4100) or Gene and Rita Kovarik (563-569-8463). Czech it out and enjoy Masopust on Saturday, Feb. 25. All ethnic costumes welcome.