RESCUE: The Prague Fire and Rescue Department ride the parade route during last week’s County Fair parade. This weekend, department volunteers will be busy with several other events. The Run to Rescue is Saturday morning and the pancake breakfast is Sunday morning.(Staff Photos by Lisa Brichacek)

PRAGUE – Activities for all ages is on tap this weekend at Prague Beer Barrel Days.

Activities get underway at 6 p.m. Friday with the Welcome Back to Prague Panther Pride Kick Off Celebration. There is also a burger bash, beer garden and music by MoJo Filter in the park.

Prague Improvement and Maintenance Project Committee Member Kragh Johnson said Friday evening activities see a lot of Prague alumni come back together for reunions.

But while some Panthers may make the journey back to town for the weekend, he said there is plenty for everyone to do.

“We try to add something every year,” he said.

This year’s new activity will be on Saturday.

Alps Angels will be sponsoring an ATV and UTV Sled Pull. Registration can already be found on the group’s Facebook page, or there is registration starting at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Alps Angels Member Christopher Lidgett said there will be 17 different classes for the pull and the event is open to the first 75 registrants.

Lidgett said pre-registration was a little lighter than expected, but he is confident there will be a good show come Saturday.

“The response has been crazy,” he said. “People have been calling from all over asking questions.”

The ATV and UTV pull will work the same way as a tractor or pickup pull.

“Except it’s in a miniature scale,” he added. “It’s a full functioning sled; it’s just smaller.”

The pull will be held in the field to the west of the village park. There will be parking across the road at the ballfields. Those coming to watch the pulls should bring along sunscreen and their lawn chairs.

When the committee asked Alps Angels about putting on the event, the group that holds ATV and UTV ag tours now twice a year were more than happy to oblige. Lidgett said he has seen them before but has never participated in one.

He added the community has been very supportive and he was excited for Saturday.

The pulls won’t be the only excitement on Saturday.

The day gets started at 6 a.m. with registration for the Catfish Tournament at Czechland Lake. The tournament begins at 7 a.m.

At 8 a.m., the Eighth Annual Run To Rescue, sponsored by the Prague Fire and Rescue Department, gets started at Czechland Lake.

The annual walk/run follows a path along the former railroad line to Rescue. The event is also a fundraiser for the Prague Volunteer Rescue Squad.

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Also on Saturday the Nebraska Czechs of Prague bring back its popular Czech Heritage Day.

Nebraska Czechs of Prague Chapter Member Kristina Fitzpatrick said the activities for the special day that celebrates the community’s Czech-Slovak heritage moved from its previous date in September to Beer Barrel Days several years ago. And, it has worked well.

“It’s a way to bring the culture, the heritage, the tradition to a weekend for a community celebration,” she said.

The Prague native said her hometown has much to be proud of.

“Prague is a wonderful community and we can be proud to have the name of the capital in the Czech Republic,” she added.

The Prague Czech Chapter wants to do its part to carry on that pride and culture.

“We are very passionate about our heritage and preserving it,” Fitzpatrick said.

Activities for Prague Czech Heritage Day are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the St. John Parish Hall. There will be music, dancing and traditional cuisine all day.

At noon, the Czech Heritage Day program will include the national anthems from the USA, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Fitzpatrick said it is important to honor America, but it is also important to recognize the other anthems as well.

“That offers a remembrance of our ancestors,” she added.

Czech queens from other chapters will also be introduced during the program, and at 1 p.m., the Nebraska Czechs of Prague will be crowing its new queen and court.

The 2019-2020 Prague Czech Queen will be Cecilia Minchow of Lincoln. Princes will be Hannah Strizek and junior princess is Olivia Pierce. The prince this coming year is Isaac Minchow.

Due to increased interest, Nebraska Czechs of Prague Chapter Member Steve Steager said two Prague Czech Little Sisters will also be a part of the coronation. The first ever Little Sisters will be Maura Fitzpatrick and Cyline Covey.

Other Czech Heritage Day activities include the Nebraska Czechs of Prague Dancers and silent auction. Admission to the event is free.

Other Beer Barrel Day activities on Saturday include the Kiddie Parade and Horseshoe tournament, both at 11:30 a.m.; kiddie tractor pull and Bohemian water fights, both at noon; and parade at 4 p.m.

At the tent in the park, there will be food and live music most of the day.

On Sunday, the Prague Fire and Rescue Department will again get things started with breakfast at the fire hall. They will serve from 8 a.m. to noon.

Registration for the Ninth Annual Mitchell Ostry Memorial Show N Shine starts at 9 a.m., with the show running from noon to 4 p.m.

The annual show organized by the Seven Mile Ridez is again expected to take up most of the downtown area. There will be gift bags to the first 200 entries and awards will be handed out at 4 p.m.

Proceeds from the show go towards the Mitchell Ostry Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is awarded to students pursuing an education in the automotive industry.

There will be bingo in the parish hall from noon to 2 p.m. and the park tent on Sunday will play host to more live music.

Wine and beer tasting will be under the tent from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and there will be an auction at 5 p.m.

There are quite a few organizations that pull together to make this three-day event happen.

Johnson said it does take some coordination, but the groups work well together and it helps spread out what needs to get done.

“We do a lot of communicating. And, I don’t think there’s been an idea that somebody said we can’t do that. That’s the key,” he said.

The Prague Maintenance and Improvement Project continues to oversee Beer Barrel Days. The group also continues to direct any proceeds from Beer Barrel Days and other community activities throughout the year to park improvements.

Right now, funds are being raised for more swings at the park and the next phase is to expand the current shelter and put in restrooms.

“Because there is no access to public restrooms now in the park,” Johnson said.

For the full schedule of activities, see this week’s Market Weekly.

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