Kolache Shoot-Out Serves as Fundraiser and Heritage Event


It started as a way to share in polka and pastries, then became a fundraiser that's been bringing hundreds of people and the town of Elba together year after year.

There's music, dancing, and of course kolaches. The Elba Community Foundation uses proceeds from their annual Kolache Shoot-Out to make payments on the community center residents banded together to build several years ago.

"We didn't go to the state for funding, we just did it ourselves, we had five people kick in a nice large amount to get us started," says Edna Ingerle who chairs the event, now in its 14th year, with her husband.

It's that same spirit of cooperation that organizers say keeps the event and celebration of their Czech and Polish histories going.

More than 300 people from Nebraska and neighboring states come for the experience.

"We enjoy playing all kinds of music, probably the polka is the number one, it's just got a beat that sort of refreshes you, keeps you going," says Bill Kucera, a member of the Czech Friends Band, a musical staple of the Shoot-Out.

Ingerle says it takes the whole town to make the Shoot-Out successful. That's why other groups like the local fire department bring food to sell and raise their own funds too.

"Everyone is helping or doing something or they baked something, the ladies bake everything – cookies and pies and bread and you name it for the bake sale, so everybody gets a piece of the pie," she says.

The event's founders are pleased that the heritage celebration is gaining interest and bringing more bakers into the friendly kolache competition.

"I think in the past few years they've seen a lot of younger people compete in the kolache contest," says Kucera.

Activities aren't limited to the Kolache Shoot-Out -- the Catholic Church in Elba held a special polka mass followed by a lunch that included polish sausages and sauerkraut.

The Shoot-Out is always held on the third Sunday in February.