Queen's Blog

2022 Czech Days Queen Drew Hejna

Hello everyone, my name is Drew Hejna, and your 2022-2023 Tabor Czech Days Queen.  On top of my title, I am honored to have been awarded the oratory and onstage interview, heritage and community involvement, and kroj awards.

My Prince Colin Kubal and Princess Elsie Pavel are alongside me on my court.  Colin's favorite color is red, and he is most excited about our visit to South Dakota's State Capitol.  Elsie's favorite color is pink, and she loves to go on vacation!

I am the daughter of Andrew and Erin Hejna; I have two siblings, one older brother Anton, and one younger sister Reese.  Just this past May, I graduated from Bon Homme High School.  In the Fall, I will attend the University of South Dakota to major in kinesiology and sports medicine.

One of my goals for this coming year is to share my journey and experiences on this platform as the current reigning Tabor Czech Days Queen.  In this blog, I hope to include my travels and various Czech traditions I implement in my daily life!

Miss Czech Slovak Minnesota Pageant, Montgomery MN


On April 15th, I traveled to Montgomery, Minnesota, to watch the Miss Czech Slovak Minnesota pageant. The evening started with a delicious Czech meal where I could catch up with some old friends such as Sarah Holicky, whom I will be competing with in August at the national pageant, and make some new friends! Then, the pageant portion of the evening got underway. Two contestants were vying for the Miss Czech Slovak Minnesota title; they represented beautifully and will do amazing things this coming year. In addition, several junior ambassadors will begin their Czech and Slovak journeys. During the evening, Anna Sedivy-Thompson gave a presentation about authentic Kroje. I learned some things I did not know before! Visiting Montgomery, Minnesota, for the Miss Czech-Slovak Minnesota Pageant was an enriching and memorable experience, highlighting the importance of preserving and celebrating cultural heritage, fostering community connections, and promoting personal growth and leadership among young women.

Czech Embassy, Washington, D.C.


On March 25th, I participated in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in Washington, DC. Anna Sedivy-Thompson, Miss Czech-Slovak 1st runner-up, invited my family and me to partake in an Easter celebration at the Czech Embassy in Washington, DC.


Upon arrival at the embassy, we were greeted with colorful Czech decorations, eggs, and bunnies! The atmosphere was festive and joyous, and I couldn't help but smile. I was incredibly excited to model an authentic kroj from the Domaïlice Dolní Chodsko Region of Bohemia. This kroj is a 130-year-old bridal kroj, and it was truly an honor to model and wear it. Reese wore a kroj from Velká nad Velickou, Horñácko Region of Moravia. The visiting royalty participated in a kroj fashion show for everyone to hear each kroj's unique and remarkable story. There were eight different kroje present!


The embassy had organized several activities for us to participate in dying and coloring eggs using Kraslice techniques, an egg hunt, playing with bunnies, and socializing.


 After the Easter event, the Hejna family and I spent the rest of the week exploring the iconic landmarks of Washington, D.C. We visited national monuments such as the Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt Memorial, the White House and Capitol, and Arlington Cemetery. Each monument had its unique story to tell, and we learned so much about the history of the United States.


We also visited several museums, including the Holocaust Museum, National Archives, Air and Space Museum, and Natural History Museum. The exhibits were informative and engaging; we could have spent hours exploring each.


I am incredibly grateful to the Tabor Chamber of Commerce for making this trip possible. With their generous donation, I learned about the vital role of the Czech Embassy in promoting Czech culture and firsthand strengthening the relationship between the United States and the Czech Republic.

Czech Days in Pierre, February 6, 2023


On February 6th, Queen Drew and her royal court traveled to South Dakota’s state capitol! They began their busy day with a private South Dakota State Historical Society Museum tour. They explored many exhibits that were rich in South Dakota history. Some of the royalty’s favorite exhibits were the shadow puppets, the sod house replica, and the Farmall tractor. Queen Drew feels so fortunate to be from and represent a state with such a rich history. After, the royalty went to the state capitol to spend the rest of their day. The royal court was honored to meet and share their experiences as Czech Days royalty with Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden, Legislators, Senators, and many others. The royalty even got recognized within the House by Drew Peterson and in the Senate by Kyle Schoenfish. A special thank you to Jessica Bahmuller for the extraordinary hospitality. The royalty loved hearing everything you shared! Queen Drew is grateful for the sacrifices all legislators make to better the state of South Dakota.

National Czech and Slovak Museum- January 14, 2023


Queen Drew traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to visit the National Czech and Slovak Museum. She and her family enjoyed the many educational exhibits found within. They explored many extraordinary exhibits that told stories of freedom, identity, family, and community about the Czech and Slovak people. Her favorite exhibit was the rotating kroje carousel exhibit! She admired many styles of kroje from different regions across the Czech and Slovak Republics. She even had the opportunity to learn more about her family genealogy in the library! After, she and her family explored the Czech Village with Cedar Rapids and stumbled across some treasures at the Czech Village Antiques shop. She brought home a new addition to her Garnet jewelry collection and some new kroje pieces. The Hejna’s concluded their trip by eating at the Czech Town Station. Drew is thankful for the fantastic hospitality and can’t wait to return to Cedar Rapids for Houby Days in May!

Christmas/New Year blog- January 4, 2023


Veselé Vánoce and Šťastný nový rok! Queen Drew has had a busy Christmas break; she and her royal court attended four local holiday light parades; Lesterville, Avon, Yankton, and Tabor. It was chilly, but they loved being a part of local holiday celebrations and traditions. 


In addition, she spent much time with her family, took her Queen portraits along with her court, perfected her kolache recipe, and participated in various Czech traditions. While Queen Drew and her family did not participate in all of the following traditions, here are a few you can implement in next year’s holiday festivities.


St. Mikuláš


On the night of December 5, Mikuláš, represented as a bearded bishop, visits the children of the Czech Republic with an angel and a devil to judge children for how they behave each year. If the children are good, the angel gives them sweets or candy, but if they are bad, the devil threatens them with gifts of coal or potatoes. Naughty kids can often escape their fate by reciting a poem or singing a song.


The pet Carp


Carp is a traditional entrée for the Czech’s. It is customary to buy this fish and keep it alive in their bathtubs for days or weeks until it is ready to be cooked for Christmas dinner. 


Foretelling the Future


For Czechs, Christmas gatherings have always been the perfect time for fortune-telling of the coming year. 




Girls are supposed to throw a shoe at Christmas. If the tip points towards the door, the girl will be married within the year. If the shoe points in the opposite direction, the girl will remain single for another year. 


Sliced Apples


During Christmas dinner, Czech families halve apples. The shape of the seed predicts their health for the coming year. If the star appears, then they will be well and healthy. If the cross appears, nothing good should be expected.

Queen Drew's Czech Name Day  October 11th and other parades      

Ahoj! I bet you've noticed I have never used this very common phrase that translates to "hello" before. In the Czech Republic, the phrase "ahoj" is reserved for informal greetings; "ahoj" should only be used if you are very familiar with that person. But since I've been around for a while now, I think it is fitting.


Outside of Czech festivals, I have been very busy with local parades. So far, I have attended; Scotland Rodeo Days, Riverboat Days, and Wagner Labor Day. I have also been implementing aspects of the Czech culture into my daily life. On October 11, I celebrated my name day! According to this tradition, each day of the year, with the exception of national holidays, corresponds to a personal name. In recent times, if you cannot find your exact name on the calendar, people have chosen to use a derivate of a name that appears on the calendar or something similar. I have decided to celebrate "Andrej," with translates to Andrew, because I am named after my father. Name Day is just another day to celebrate you! Individuals often celebrate with a small gift. I celebrated with an apricot kolache! I have linked the website so you can find yours and your loved one's name day!



October 1st, 2022 -Yukon Czech Day 

Happy Czech heritage month! I started celebrating my Czech heritage on October 1st by traveling 587 miles to Yukon, Oklahoma. There, I attended Yukon’s one-day Czech event. I started the fun-filled day by taking part in one of Oklahoma’s largest parades. Myself and other visiting royalty were driven by the generous members of Yukon’s Jeep club. It was so lovely seeing the other queens and catching up again one last time as the festival season comes to a close! Throughout the rest of the afternoon, I enjoyed delicious food, watched authentic dances, and enjoyed a few polkas myself. Something I particularly enjoyed is the different styles of brightly colored authentic kroje. Hopefully, one day I can have my own authentic costume! Later, I watched the crowing of Oklahoma’s state queen and the rest of her court. Jayden was lovely to meet, and I look forward to seeing her again! We attended the coronation ball to close the festival and polka the night away.


I had a fantastic day and Yukon and am grateful for the wonderful hospitality!

August 5-7th Wilber, NE 

On the first weekend of August, I had the opportunity to travel to the Czech Capitol of the World; Wilber Nebraska!

The festivities started with a presentation given by Kim Znamenacek about sewing of traditional kroje and visiting various museums about kroje.  I found this particularly fascinating as I am working on a new kroj!  I then got to partake in bandstand introductions with the visiting royalty.  Following this, we all attended the queen's reception, where I got to know many of the 2022-2023 visiting royalty.  I can't wait to spend more time with these wonderful ladies over the next year!  Afterward, I rode through both parades in our family's Roadster, waving to everyone!  The Wilber Czech Festival also hosts the Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant, and I watched our very own Miss Camille Sykora compete for the national title.  She did an excellent job representing our community and walked away with the Spirit Award!  I do not doubt that the national court will do amazing things this year!  

I had such a wonderful time in Wilber celebrating our Czech heritage and I cannot wait to be back representing our state in 2023! 

~ Queen Drew

July 24th Montgomery, MN

On Sunday, July 24th, I traveled to Montgomery, Minnesota, the "Kolacky Capital of the World", to celebrate our Czech heritage.  I started my trip off by attending the Queen's Brunch.  There, I met many of the young women who represent the state of Minnesota, including the current Miss Czech-Slovak Minnesota, Marisa DeVito-Winget.  I also say Sarah Holicky, Miss Czech-Slovak Minnesota 1st Princess, whom I met earlier this year.  It is wonderful to speak with other young women who share a similar passion for representing their community.  After, I rode through their huge parade with my fantastic drive, Andy.  I then went to Memorial Park, where I toured their historic settler's log cabin, watched the beautiful St. Paul Czech and Slovak Dancers and the Kolacky Eating Contest.  To wrap up my day, I enjoyed the jitrnice meal along with the infamous kolacky.  I had such a wonderful time in Montgomery and am so thankful for their hospitality.  I can't wait to go back in 2023!

  July 16th, 2022- Viborg, SD

On July 16th, we celebrated Danish culture and shared our Czech heritage with the people of Viborg, SD.  We rode through a fun and interactive parade, waving to all.  After, I visited the Daneville Heritage Museum, where I was met with an impressive collection of Danish artifacts.  My favorite exhibit was the traditional Danish dress.  I found it interesting that the Danish folk dress has many aspects that are similar and different to our kroj.  While visiting the museum, I got to vote on their apron decorating contest.  There were many hand-embroidered aprons that all deserved to win!  In addition, I was gifted a beautiful ceramic pin from the museum, which can be found on my sash.  After, I tasted some Danish delicacies, I tried rolepolse for the first time!  It is a traditional Danish cold-cut sandwich with a piece of pork belly that is flattened out and spread with different herbs and seasonings.  And of course, I had it with a Danish dessert.  I truly enjoyed my time in Viborg celebrating the Danish culture!  Až příště!

Till next time! 

~Queen Drew

July 4th, 2022-Menno, SD

Since my crowning, my royal court and I have attended one parade in Menno, SD to celebrate Independence Day!  The 4th was filled with great pride for our wonderful country.  We are honored to represent the Tabor Community and cannot wait for the opportunities this year holds for us!  Až příště!

Till next time! 

~Queen Drew