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St. Joseph's Day Parade Starts Business Boom for Czech Village

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Hundreds lined the streets of New Bo and the Czech Village to celebrate Saint Joseph's Day with the annual parade. The festivities feature all-red attire while honoring Czech heritage. This parade means the start of big business for area shops.

A sea of red marks the annual Saint Joseph's Day Parade through the Czech Village, an area proud of its heritage and showcasing a true legacy stronger now than before the flood of 2008.

"A lot of people come in and they're surprised that a lot of it did come back," David Evans with PJ's Czech Shop said.

David Evans with PJ's Czech Shop displays old Czech antiques and handmade crafts. With more people outside for the parade, he hopes they come inside for a one-of-a-kind item.

"Don't know what's coming in or what's going out of the door," Evans said.

And there's plenty to see at shops along the strip; stores new and old.

"It's very interesting you've got the Sykora's bakery across the street," said Evans.

And bakers came in the night before the parade to get ready for big crowds.

"Everybody loves kolaches," Sykora bakery owner John Rocarek said.

Rocarek said they do ten times the business on parade day than normal.

"A lot of overeating, a lot of over-celebrating. I hope one of the bars has red beer, and people will be celebrating people named Joe and Josephine," Rocarek said.

The parade means the start of the spring season in this part of town. Rocarek and Evans hope spring-like weather soon follows to lure people out of their homes and back to the streets of the Czech Village.

"It means winter is going away. We really need it. We need a boost. It's been slow in January, February, and March people don't get out as much," Rocarek said.

"We just wait and hope for the best ," Evans said.

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