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Tabor's Czech Days celebrate founding families of area town

TABOR -- The kolaches are made, the costumes are ironed and the floats are decorated. It's time for the 62nd annual Czech Days in Tabor, a three-day festival that begins today to celebrate the founding families of the town who came from Czechoslovakia in the 1800s.

Mildred Cimpl, 78, who has lived in Tabor all her life, said preparations were still underway Wednesday, including a practice for the Beseda Dancers, a group of 200 dancers as young as 7 years old who perform traditional Czech dances in the town's Sokol Park.

"There are just so many events," Cimpl said, adding that with just over 400 people in Tabor, they depend on their neighboring communities to help prepare and run the event. "It's a big job."

Cimpl said a highlight of every year is the parade at 1 p.m. Friday. Returning to lead the parade this year will be the 147th National Guard Army Band, which will also perform a concert at 4 p.m. Friday at Sokol Park, where many of the events will be held.

"We are known for our beautiful parade," Cimpl said. "Our people just go all out to make beautiful floats."

As many as 5,000 to 10,000 people have traveled to the festival in past years, according to Cimpl, which causes the population of the town to "kind of explode."

A favorite each year remains the kolache, a traditional Czech pastry filled with various things such as prunes, poppy seeds, apricots, cream cheese or even rhubarb. Cimpl said 2,200 dozen -- yes, dozen -- were made last year, and they usually run out.

"You haven't lived until you've been here," Cimpl added with a chuckle.

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