Past Events

Todd Znamenacek demonstrated the fun of marionettes during the children’s activities at the 2013 Czechfest.

Marionettes at Czechfest

The Children’s Activities at the 2013 Czechfest focused on Puppetry.  Special guest Todd Znamenacek of Crete shared his knowledge of marionettes.   Znamenacek became interested in puppets as a child growing up with Jim Henson’s Muppets on television.  He made all kinds of hand puppets at school and at home.  Later in life he learned about puppets from other cultures. On his first trip to Prague in the Czech Republic, Todd watched a puppeteer perform on Charles Bridge.  Later he took Czech language classes at UNL where he was introduced to Spiegel and Hurvinek and he was hooked on marionettes.  Spiegel and Hurvinek is a television marionette show that all Czech kids have grown up with since the 1960’s.  Znamenacek started making marionettes and in 2000 was accepted as a student at the Fine Arts Academy in Prague where he studied figural sculpture.  Znamenacek says he is more of a builder and maker of marionettes rather than a puppeteer.  He is a skilled woodcarver and likes to show people how to make this special type of puppet.

A special exhibit titled “The Assassination of Nazi General Heydrich” was featured at the 2013 Czechfest.

A special exhibit titled “The Assassination of Nazi General Heydrich” will be featured at the Oct. 13 York Czechfest. During the Second World War there was a small village named Lidice in what was then Czechoslovakia.   When an important Nazi General named Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated and the assassins were not found, the Nazis in retaliation chose Lidice as a scapegoat even though the townspeople were innocent. On June 10, 1942, all of the men 16-years and over were lined up and shot by a Nazi SS firing squad.  The women were sent to concentration camps where many of them died and 82 of the 105 Lidice children were transported to Poland where they were gassed. Only 17 of the children survived the war. This 19-panel exhibit was being presented through the efforts of John Fiala of Lincoln, NE, with confirmation by the Czech Republic government through the Czech Embassy in Washington, D.C. with assistance from Minister Dr. Robert Rehak.