great history and tradition of gathering at Turkey Run State Park
for Memorial Day Weekend dates back to the mid-1970's.
For nearly two decades as many as 20 families of Serbian decent
gathered for the annual barbeque. At it's inception, the weekend
was more-so simply an annual gathering of family and friends than
a celebration of Serbian culture and cuisine. Details of the birth
of what is today known as "Serb Fest" are sketchy. As
far back as 1977, a Serbian gentleman (known affectionately by
today's attendees as "Abe Lincoln" for the resemblance
of his facial hair to that of the Sixteenth President of the United
States) and his wife gathered with a close group of Serbian friends
at Turkey Run State Park to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend. The
number of attendees in these early years is unconfirmed, but as
the legend grew, so did the group. The weekend was an invitation
only event as it remains today. Families would reach out and invite
close family friends. By 1981, the Boskovic Family had become
regulars and by the mid-1980s, it is believed that as many as
20 families might have gathered 'round the grills of Turkey Run
1985, Predrag & Mila Zelenkovich made their first trip
to TR, who at the time, were without their young son Jovan who
was spending the summer in Serbia with his Grandmother. The following
year, six year old Jovan set foot on the soils of Turkey Run State
Park for the very first time, not knowing that this was to be
a life changing event for Jovan and was a pivotal event in the
endurance of Serb Fest into the 21st Century.
1993, Monica Stevanovic, daughter of Miomir and Zofia Stevanovic,
who also happens to also be Jovans oldest friend, invited
Emma Loyfman, a close friend of hers to TR. This is believed to
be the first time one of the "kids" had brought a friend,
let alone, a friend of non-Serbian decent. Emma seemingly had
a great time and not only did she return in 1994, but has been
a regular attendee since. That year Jovan followed suit and also
invited a friend, Jeff Bott. Legend has it that Jovan had sold
the idea to his parents in that his parents had recently purchased
a conversion van and with the additional space, they not only
could accommodate transporting Bott to TR, but the two boys could
actually sleep in the back of the van. (They soon found this to
be a horrible idea and would end up sleeping on cotts in his parents'
room). These events would set the stage for the evolution of Serb
Fest into the 21st Century, driven by a new generation of attendees.
1997, Jovan had invited a couple additional friends from
his High School swim team. In an "alternate universe",
Scott Berger was making his first "unofficial" trip
to Turkey Run State Park with a group of friends from High School.
A year later, Scott & Jovan would meet at college and as Spring,
1998 approached, Jovan made mention his plans to go to Turkey
Run State Park for Memorial Day Weekend. Scott immediately showed
great enthusiasm and interest given his familiarity with the location.
It seemed natural that Jovan invite Scott to join him and his
family. The two also recruited OLAF, who at the time was known
as Erik and along with then veteran attendee, Jeff Bott, they
piled into the back of the Zelenkovich van for the drive to Turkey
Run. The scene was officially set for the next generation.
TR 1999 approached, Jovan and Jeff Bott lost touch and
new attendees Jeff Heitzman and Dan F. were added to the line-up.
This proved to be yet another pivotal year in Serb Fest history
where so many of the second generation's traditions were born.
To these new attendees, the trip was nothing more than a weekend
getaway with their buddy John. There just so happened to be a
bunch of old Serbians hanging around as well. As naive as they
were, it wouldn't be long for them to take notice of the great
Spirit that surrounded them at Serb Fest. In the meantime, this
new generation, full of energy, & sporting wife beaters, began
associating Turkey Run not only with Serbian culture, but with
"White Trash America". Being in the heart of Central
Indiana meant a lot of questionable folk.... the kind of folk
that "city kids" from Chicago weren't used to seeing.
As an homage to White Trash America, commonly referred to as "WT",
Turkey Run would similarly become known as "TR". This
also led to an affinity for drinking ultra cheap beer and infrequent
showering (though by the end of the next decade, the men took
up showering regularly mostly to appease their significant
2001, with most of the guys from the new generation opting
to take a post college graduation trip to Europe, which was to
unfortunately overlap with Memorial Day Weekend, it was left to
Scott Berger, the lone attendee not making this trans-Atlantic
trip, to make the decision as to whether or not he would carry
the torch and make his 3rd straight trip to Serb Fest. Scott pulled
together his brother Krangis and an old friend from high school,
Brian Crissie, went to DSD Delicatessen to pick up an order of
cevapcici, and made the trip, not knowing what to expect upon
arrival. While somewhat awkward at first, the small group joined
the older generation for a Saturday night meal under the Shelter.
It was during this meal that Predrag Zelenkovich spoke the historic
words "You eat, or you're out!" to the new attendees
of the group. This was also the meal during which the original
Indian Head Dress made its debut. The guys made an abbreviated
trip to TR that August as a "make-up"
for all who were unable to attend in May. Unknowingly, this trip
was almost a warm-up and precursor to what the group would be
faced with in 2003 - being responsible for full coordination and
execution of the weekend's festivities.
saw TR's one and only "demerit", issued to Jeff Heitzman
as a result of "forgetting about Turkey Run" and planning
a trip to Wyoming with a significant other. This is an important
event, not because Nutz has been unable to live this down since
its occurance, but because it set a precident for the rest of
the group. The expectation was set - at least for the core group
of attendees - "Memorial Day Weekend. Clear it for LIFE."
The message has since been largely embraced with very few absences
from the core group. Perhaps this may one day be taken into consideration
as grounds to reverse the demerit. Perhaps in my head I may make
a recommendation for reversal based on a decision of a close friend
of Nutz's on whether or not he chooses to "skip out"
on Turkey Run in 2010. May this be the true test of the strength
and impact of the message on the group.
TR 2003 approached, the young generation had been taking
notes from their predecessors and upon learning that none of the
"parents" would be attending in 2003, they immediately
felt charged with a great responsibility to uphold the tradition
of Serb Fest in their absence. Furthermore, they learned that
Monica and her friends would also not be in attendance. The stakes
were raised as it would now solely be left to the young men of
the next generation to "pick up the machette and continue
blazing the trail" as Jovan so eloquently put it at the time.
Not knowing what the future was to hold, the group conceded to
the notion that the days of sharing Memorial Day Weekend with
the elder generation were over. In an effort to distinguish their
generation from their parents, the men proclaimed the weekends
festivities to be a weekend of Fire & Ice. For
a period of 2 years, the Serb Fest title was retired and the weekend
was known as the Fire & Ice Extravaganza. Accompanying
this transition was the unveiling of Turkey Run Online, the inception
of the Turkey Run Hall of Fame to honor those who were responsible
for handing off the torch to the new generation, and the release
of a DVD Documentary capturing the events of TR 2003 while
also touching on some of the history and what brought this new
group of attendees together.
the following year, several of the Serbs made a come-back, as
did the girls, which has been sustained through the present day.
TR 2005 was dubbed Serb Fest Reunion with the
expectation that each of the Hall of Fame inductees would be in
attendance. Unfortunately, this didnt exactly materialize,
but Serb Fest was indeed reborn! The men of the second generation
made a vow to uphold Serb Fest for all time regardless of who
was in attendance. Turkey Run was to not only forever to be a
celebration of White Trash America, but more importantly, a celebration
of Serbian culture and cuisine.
a commitment was made to uphold the Spirit of Turkey Run, growing
pains still loomed on the horizon. While Serb Fest had always
been a family friendly event, some argued that Turkey Run was
somewhat of a "guys weekend". After difficult conversation
ensued, Scott Berger took a bold step in inviting his girlfriend
(and eventual wife-to-be), Julie Walton to TR. Evolution of this
magnitude was understandably met with controversy, but it was
a move that set the stage for the majority of the young men to
eventually bring girlfriends, fiancés, and wives of their
own to Turkey Run in years to come.
2008, OLAF had became the first of the young men to bring
a child, his daughter Sara to TR. In 2009, OLAFs newborn
son Jack attended and with that, the third generation was introduced
to Serb Fest! It's no surprise that generations have embraced
this great tradition for many of the same reasons their forefathers
have. While we are all uncertain as to how many more years we
will have privilege of sharing Memorial Day weekend with its founding
generation, we all must remember that "the elders have shown
us the way... we must pick up the machete and continue blazing
much of this timeline focuses on the evolution of Jovan and his
non-Serbian male friends and their families, it is essential to
note the involvement of other highly respected and important regular
attendees of the second generation. Dan Boskovic, the oldest of
the second generation attendees and son of Bora and Cica Boskovic,
is affectionately known as Crazy Dan and has been
attending TR since as early as 1981. Today he is as synonymous
with Serb Fest as anything or anyone and is a lock for the TR
Hall of Fame. He attends with is Wife Deborah and his 2 daughters,
Danica and Ivana. Danica held the record for being the youngest
attendee on record, at just 3 months, until Jack L attended at
the tender age of 2 months.
Danilovic is the daughter of Hall of Famers, Daca & Lela Danilovic.
Her attendance can be traced back to the mid-late 1980s
but very well may be earlier than that. She too is an expected
attendee year after year despite her sometimes late confirmation.
She brings with her an infectious spirit for Serb Fest!
others have come and gone each leaving a distinct mark
on Serb Fest history. The guest list will continue to grow and
evolve. The people are the most important ingredient to any Serb
Fest and as long as youre surrounded by good friends and
good people, Serb Fest will never fail.