Skip to content

We Gotcha Kolache

The stakes are high at two events celebrating Czech culture
Written by Lori Moffatt.

In the cutthroat world of Texas kolache competitions, reputations and bragging rights hinge on two celebrations of Czech culture in September—Westfest, a no-holds-barred Czech shindig that takes place this year August 31 through September 2 in West, and the annual pastry party known as the Caldwell Kolache Festival (September 8), which packs more eating, dancing, drinking, and singing into a single day than most people experience in a month.

“The kolache-eating competition is a real crowd-pleaser,” says Caldwell Kolache Festival chairman Louemma Polansky, who explains that each division (men, women, girls, and boys) has a specific number of kolaches to eat; whoever devours theirs first wins. “We set up in front of the band area, and it gets wild. Last year, the winner in the men’s division ate his eight kolaches in 56 seconds. I will say that a person’s size has nothing to do with winning. The girl who won her category for a couple of years straight was as skinny as a rail.”

The Kolache Festival kicks off with a prayer ceremony, followed by performances of the United States national anthem, the state song “Texas, Our Texas,” and the Czech national anthem. Then any formality gives way to raucous affection for Czech lifeways, traditions, and foods. Live Czech music starts up at 9:30, setting a festive tone for demonstrations of skills like dul-cimer-playing and cane-weaving, a quilt show, and some 200 vendors offering crafts and foods as varied as pie and sauerkraut.

And in the afternoon, a panel of judges crowns the winners of the much-anticipated Kolache Bake Show, with both professional and non-professional bakers vying for “Best Of” titles in 11 categories. In Central Texas kolache country, a Grand Champion award can open more doors than an M.B.A.

For details about Westfest in West, see For more information about the Caldwell Kolache Festival, call 979/567-0000.

Back to top