Volunteers begin process of baking 30,000 kolaches for annual festival

The fragrance of sweet bread lingers in the air as the women at the table make balls of dough.

The work began Tuesday night and will continue for two days a week until more than 2,500 dozen balls have been rounded, pounded, punched and filled with ooey, gooey, yummy fillings.

The volunteers who help make up Oklahoma Czechs Inc. are making thousands of kolaches that will be sold as singles or by the half-dozen during this year’s Yukon Czech Fest.

The event is planned for Oct. 6.

Marjorie Jezek, who chairs the Czech Fest committee, and her crew of volunteers were rolling dough early Wednesday, making little balls that were to eventually become tasty treats.

They will be working harder this year after one crew decided to retire.

Jezek said some members of the crew had passed away over the past year, while others had chosen to step away for health or personal reasons.

That leaves two crews who will work tirelessly for the next several weeks making varying flavors of the Czech treats.

Wednesday, the flavor of the day was cream-cheese with a cherry on top.

Jazek said in the past, the kolaches had come packaged in multiple flavors. This year, the organization is changing things up a bit.

She said instead of selling the kolaches in packages of 12, it will be six to a bag and they will be the same flavor.

That was a request that had been suggested by patrons over the past few years.

Wednesday, they were making 52 dozen.

The packages will be frozen and placed inside a large freezer at their building on Fifth Street.

Jazek, Susan Canham and Lynda Wood all said this is a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation.

Wood said her mother had done it for years, while Canham said she had been rolling the little balls of dough since her childhood.

This is the 53rd year of the festival.

The goal is to finish the kolaches before the end of August.

There will be 13 flavors available.

“This is the only time of the year to get them,” Jezek said.

“They are good,” Wood said.

While the women make up the bulk of the work, Ray Dillberg was lending a hand with the mixer and buttering the tops of the dough before it goes into the oven.

Money raised from the sale of kolaches is used to pay for expenses related to sending the Czech Fest queen to the national competition, a scholarship fund and to pay for the cost of the Czech Fest itself.

All three women said the kolaches will sell out quickly.

Last year, the majority of flavors had sold out before the end of the annual Czech Fest parade.

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