From The Kolacky Capital of the World comes the 81st annual Kolacky Festival in Montgomery, Minnesota! First held in 1929 when … what’s that? What’s a kolacky? We quote the festival website: “A kolacky is a small dinner roll-like pastry which is folded, enclosing filling in the center. The most common fillings include prune, poppyseed, apricot, apple, blueberry and raspberry.” They come from the Czech Republic or, to be more accurate, Bohemia, which is what that region of Europe was called when Montgomery was settled by Czechs in the mid-1800s. It’s been over 150 years and they have not forgotten!

Button, Kolacky Days, Montgomery, MNYou’ll want to sample  a kolacky while you’re there, of course, or perhaps a half-dozen, if you enter the Kolacky Eating Contest. Eat six kolacky faster than any other entrant and you’ll receive a medal and be named Kolacky King. Consider yourself lucky to be competing today rather than in 1933, when the different contest format resulted in the winner downing 36 of the sweet pastries! There’s no entry fee so this might be a great way to enjoy the local specialty.

Here's Mrs. Trcka in the 1940s with her giant kolacky.

Here’s Mrs. Trcka in the 1940s with her giant kolacky.

There’s also a Homemade Kolacky Baking Contest, which was added to the festival in 1997. Contestants arrive from all over the state (and beyond) for the honor of being named Minnesota State Champion of Kolacky Baking. There are three categories: best-tasting traditional (prune or poppyseed), best-tasting non-traditional, and most perfectly shaped.

Vendors will be offering up a wide variety of Czech specialties.

Vendors will be offering up a wide variety of Czech specialties.

Hey, there’s more than kolacky at this festival! How about attending the Authentic Czech Dinner on Friday night? The local American Legion post serves a traditional pork and dumplings dinner. Sounds wonderful – but you have to buy tickets ($18) in advance. All weekend, there’ll also be a beer garden, and food stands, sponsored by local groups, serving Czech specialties. And don’t forget Saturday’s Legion breakfast.

The kolacky in the eating contest come from Franke's Bakery in town.

The kolacky in the eating contest come from Franke’s Bakery in town.

Lest you think all folks do during Kolacky Days is eat (is there something wrong with that?) here’s a brief smattering of the many other events taking place over the weekend: there’s a horseshoe tournament, a truck & tractor pull, a blacksmithing demo, parades, a homemade wine competition … there’s far too much for us to list here — check the festival website for all the details!