Excerpt taken from the Southeast Nebraska Visitors' Guide
Wilber is a small but unique ethnic community
located 36 miles southwest of
Wilber was named for C.D. Wilber, who gave the land to build a city. It was platted in 1873, and grew to be a community of Czech immigrants. It is the county seat of Saline Co., and is located at the intersection of Highway 41 and 103.
Over the years, the Czechoslovakian heritage
has continued to be passed down through the generations. Many residents still
speak the language fluently and many more are familiar enough with the language
to greet you in Czech on the street. Many
The community of Wilber places great importance upon these traditions as evidenced in the decorated store fronts, declaring the business in the Czech language and painted in traditional colors. A new mural depicting the Czech heritage is located on the west side of Barnas Drug. The entire downtown district is being considered for nomination to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The downtown business district boasts two Czech specialty meat markets, a traditional Czech bakery, and a drug store and flower shop that feature garnet jewelry, Czech glassware, and Czech gift items.
Wilber has a wonderful
The Czech Craft Shop on
Flowers are a very important part of the Czech heritage. Light poles draped with flowers and barrels filled with flowers line the city streets. The parks boast beautiful flower gardens, tended by volunteers, and many private residences showcase spectacular flowers gardens, as well.
Another important part of the Czech heritage is the music. The first thing that greets you as you arrive downtown, is music filling the air, it plays on main street every day. Polkas, marches and symphonies from the great Czech composers all contribute to the unique atmosphere in Wilber.
Along with the music are traditional Czech dances. The Beseda, a strictly-timed group dance, is a special feature that is often performed for visiting groups. Over the past year, 85 young people have spent much time learning the traditional polkas, Beseda, and other group dances.
The community of Wilber hosts the annual
Wilber Czech Festival, held the first weekend of August each year. This colorful
festival features traditional Czech food, music, dancing and hundreds of people
dressed in colorful Czech costumes. This festival draws about 40,000 visitors
each year and is one of the biggest ethnic festivals in the state of