The Austin Chronicle

Czech Adventureland

Caldwell's 23rd annual Kolache Festival

By Claudia Alarcón, September 7, 2007, Food

Early in Texas history, Czechoslovakian immigrants arrived in Central Texas and settled in what was to become Burleson County. Today, a powerful sense of culture and tradition continues in the area, so much so that the 71st Legislature of the state of Texas proclaimed Caldwell the "Kolache Capital of Texas" and commended its citizens on their significant accomplishments in promoting the heritage of their Czech ancestors.

This year, the 23rd annual Kolache Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8. The free, one-day event begins at 9am and continues around the downtown area until 5pm. Food, music, and more than 60,000 kolaches will give the 20,000 festival visitors a chance to enjoy one of the state's most beloved ethnic foodstuffs. Bakers have competed for 21 years to win the coveted title of Burleson County Grand Champion. In 2003, the Kolache Bake Show expanded to five divisions, including a State Grand Champion and Burleson County Grand Champion, plus a youth division for both Burleson County and state. The best part of the festival is that there will be plenty of kolache bakeshop vendors, so you can buy your kolaches by the dozen and take some home. Although they are best hot out of the oven, kolaches freeze beautifully, so stock up while you can.

Among the festival's entertainment will be a kolache-eating contest, where individual and team competitors vie for cash prizes, as well as continuous entertainment on two stages with bands, Czech singers, and dancers. The festival also features Czech Adventureland, plus a quilt show, a classic car show, an antique engines and machine show, and a fine-arts show. Demonstrations of cane weaving, gristmilling, egg decorating, dulcimer playing, pottery, and other lost arts will continue throughout the day. If that's still not enough Tex-Czech culture for you, you can visit the Burleson County Czech Heritage Museum and the Kraitchar House Museum. For more information, go to

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