Czech traditions in the US

Visit Midwest destination Bannister in Michigan this Sunday for Dozinky Harvest Festival

emmapalova

Czech traditions continue in the US

By EMMA PALOVA

EW Emma’s Writings

Bannister, MI- Always held on the first Sunday in August, the Czech Harvest Festival in Bannister is by far the best kept secret around.

I discovered it while writing for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard, I received a press release from an insurance agency in Owosso about 13 years ago.

The one-paragraph press release was simple, but it did entice me to explore the “Dozinky” Harvest Midwest style.

Czech dances in Bannister, MI in traditional costumes custom made in Czech and Slovak republics. Czech dances in Bannister, MI in traditional costumes custom made in Czech and Slovak republics.

“Come and sample traditional Czech fare of dumplings, pork and sauerkraut. Dance the afternoon away with polka. Watch the dancers in their colorful costumes,” the press release read.

Since then, we’ve been going to the festival at least every two years.

Following is a video interview by Brianna Prochaska with some of the younger participants of the “Dozinky” Harvest Festivals held all…

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Going international

Destination Valparaiso

By EMMA  PALOVA

EW Emma’s Writings

After more than two decades of living in North America, the Pala and the Konecny families still like to patronize international venues around the world.

Here is a sampling of few of our favorites spread around the Midwest. The most recent one that we visited as a family was the Don Quijote Spanish restaurant in Valparaiso, Indiana for  my dad’s 80th birthday.

One day on their way from Chicago, my parents Vaclav and Ella Konecny spotted a billboard with the famous Spanish knight Don Quijote on a stretch of freeway 94.

Located about 12 miles from the Indiana State Dunes, Valparaiso is a small university town with a cosmopolitan fare.

The restaurant is a real Spanish treat owned by Mr. Carlos of Barcelona.

And does Mr. Carlos know how to cook and entertain.

Owner Carlos with Ella and Vaclav Konecny at Don Quijote restaurant
Owner Carlos with Ella and Vaclav Konecny at Don Quijote restaurant

The menu offerings range from pork, blackened lamb and salmon to seafood and the signature Spanish dish paella. The yellow saffron rice is sautéed with seafood and sprinkled with peas for a delicious meal for two.

Annually Mr. Carlos throws a picnic for customers around mid July.  He roasts two pigs and makes a big pan of paella.

The ambience is Spanish inside the Don Quijote restaurant.
The ambience is Spanish inside the Don Quijote restaurant.

It wouldn’t be Spanish if there wasn’t any wine. The garage is set up with mixers for Sangria and Margaritas, as well as bottled wine and beer.

Mr. Carlos’ clientele is truly international in customs and spirit. With Chicago only 60 miles away and the nearby Indiana State Dunes Park, the restaurant is a cool destination in summer or winter.

The tastefully decorated restaurant with an interior that resembles on outside street is a reprieve with its own store that carries authentic  Spanish goodies.

For more information go to  www.donquijotevalpo.com

The Dunes Region http://www.BeyondtheBeachDiscoveryTrail.com

Copyright (c) 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova

 

Walking the Appalachian Trail

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Lowell woman walks the Appalachian Trail

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- No, it wasn’t on her bucket list. Ivy Haskins is too young to have one. She simply wanted to get away from everyday life between the pub and her house painting ventures.

“Ever since I was a kid I heard of the Appalachian Trail,” she said.

For years, Haskins, much like many others, dreamt about the 2,181 miles long trail with the highest elevation at 6, 625 feet.

Ivy Haskins shows the slope of the Appalachian Trail Ivy Haskins shows the slope of the Appalachian Trail

The trail runs from Georgia to Maine from easy strolls to challenging mountain climbs.

“I had all my bills paid off and 15 years of working two jobs at once and not enjoying life,” Haskins said. “You get caught in a cycle. I wanted a change.”

Haskins saved up extra money for the adventure of a lifetime.

“I’ve never done anything like…

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