Dozinky Harvest Festival

Dozinky Harvest Festival

Oct 04, 2017

By Joanne Fornusek | Member, No. 225, Bannister, MI

The Lower Michigan lodges began the tradition of jointly celebrating Dozinky (Harvest Festival) during the 1930’s. This annual festival seeks to celebrate and preserve old world heritage and traditions of harvest time in Czechoslovakia.

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 Participants celebrate Dozinky with dancing.

Approximately 1,000 visitors come from all over Michigan, several other states, and Canada to enjoy the food, music, and dance, along with Mid-Michigan hospitality at the annual Dozinky in Bannister, MI on August 6.

The Lower Michigan lodges began the tradition of jointly celebrating Dozinky during the 1930’s. This annual festival seeks to celebrate and preserve old world heritage and traditions of harvest time in Czechoslovakia. In 1976, the celebration was held in Bannister for the first time. Since then, it has become an annual event at the Bannister ZCBJ Hall on the first Sunday in August.

In the weeks leading up to the festival, members of the ZCBJ Czechoslovakian Folk Dance Group meet twice a week to learn and practice traditional dances under the direction of Michigan No. 225 (Bannister, MI) member Diane Bradley. Dancers range in age from two years to senior citizen.

This year, volunteers baked 168 dozen rohlicky, 162 nut and poppy seed rolls, and 180 raised yeast dumplings in the days before the dinner.

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Volunteers baked goods to sell at the festival.

 

Committee chairmen also begin to purchase supplies and recruit members and friends to work at the hall. This year, volunteers baked 168 dozen rohlicky, 162 nut and poppy seed rolls, and 180 raised yeast dumplings in the days before the dinner.

On Saturday, more than 50 members and friends met at the hall to peel hundreds of pounds of potatoes, cut cabbage for cole slaw and three large roasters of sweet and sour cabbage, plate 900 individual servings of bakery, prepare 700 pounds of chicken, set up seating, and decorate inside and outside the hall. On Sunday morning at 2 a.m., the first crew arrives to start breading and frying chicken and to make stuffing, rice, and giblets, ham, cole slaw, mashed potatoes and gravy, and all the other trimmings that make this dinner so popular.

Traditional dances and songs were performed by dance group and local musicians.

Following dinner, opening ceremonies began as costumed participants, wearing traditional kroje, march onto an outdoor platform carrying decorated rakes, wreaths, and scythes. The anthems of the United States, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia were led by Bob Ladiski and a prayer for a successful harvest was offered by Margaret Horak. Traditional dances and songs were performed by the dance group and local musicians.

The teen group sang a song in Czech, taught to them by Zdenka Leonard, who is originally from the Czech Republic. Zdenka and her three sons are members of the Folk Dance Group. A special dance was performed this year with two dancers, Marques Horak and Erica Cooper, who will be married soon. They were dressed in traditional wedding kroje.

District Director Mary Bradley introduced our special guests Don Nieland, Western Fraternal Life’s Vice President of Information Technology and Secretary, and his wife Linda and son Tony. Don presented a check to Kevin Somers for support of WOES High School radio station for their continued broadcasting of Czech and Slovak music.

Don then made a surprise presentation to Diane Bradley who has been named Western’s Fraternalist of the Year (more info to come in November Fraternal Herald). There were free drawings for five children’s bikes, as well as drawings for teen and adult prizes. Prizes were donated by the Home Office, Bannister No. 225, Western Sales Representative Ed Fornusek, and Jean Foess.

Following the program, the YELL! group ran free games for the children. A dance began at 4 p.m. with music by the Bill Nemanis Band. Also held earlier that morning was a Heritage Mass at St. Cyril’s Catholic Church in Bannister. The Mass remembered and honored the Czech and Slovak founding fathers of St. Cyril’s, as well as all the ethnic groups that make up the parish.

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Young men perform a dance. Marques Horak and Erica Cooper.
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Dancing as a group. Local musicians played several selections.
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Dancing to traditional songs. Participants celebrate Dozinky with dancing.


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