National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library Prepares for Grand Opening

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

The immigrant house has been installed alongside the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, photographed on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Cedar Rapids. Final preparations are being made for the museum's grand reopening Saturday, July 10, 2012, in Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- After more than four years, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is almost ready to re-open.

It was damaged during the 2008 flood. Since then, crews have been cleaning out the building, moving it to a new location and expanding it. The grand re-opening takes place this weekend, July 14 and July 15. It will be a two-day event filled with festivities.

Organizers expect 10,000 people to visit Czech Village and take part in celebrations.

"It's a wonderful exciting project and we're all just revved up. We’re ready to have this museum open. We’re ready to welcome our visitors and guests throughout the country and the world,” said Czech & Slovak Museum & Library Director of Marketing and Communications Diana Baculis.

Contractors have finished up the renovations on the building, which is three times the size of the original one. Museum staff member said all that's left to do is get everything on the shelves of the museum store. Workers are unpacking all kinds of Czech and Slovak merchandise.

Businesses in the Czech Village are also preparing for the rush of people. The Village Meat Market crew will serve traditional Czech sausages to visitors throughout the weekend. They know the museum’s opening means big business. Owner Lou Thompson hopes this could be the beginning of a bigger future for Czech Village and Cedar Rapids.

“We really, really want the tourism to come down here. We want folks to utilize the downtown area. It would be great if we could get the trolleys back again and just do the whole loop, it would be great for the tourism,” Thompson said.

The celebration begins on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. with a parade. Participants will start in the NewBo District near CSPS hall and march over to the museum.

"We have dignitaries from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. We have Senator Grassley here; Senator Harkin is here as well. We'll have a few speeches. We're going to have a bread and salt ceremony and then we will cut the ribbon and open the museum at around 11:00 a.m.,” Baculis said.

Festivities go well into the evening on Saturday and then run from noon until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

You can watch the festivities kick off live on KCRG 9.2 and kcrg.com. Coverage of the parade and opening ceremony begins at 9:00a.m. KCRG-TV9's Ashley Hinson will host the live broadcast.

KCRG 9.2 can be found over-the-air on channel 9.2, on Mediacom channels 109 or 115-6 and on ImOn channel 709. For a list of local cable channels click here
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