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Turkey Run has long been driven by TRADITION. For Serb Fest’s First Generation, coming to Turkey Run meant fantastic canoeing and hiking and an opportunity for old friends and family to gather around a grill for good food, good conversation, and of course, good holy water. While Serb Fest's First Generation laid the foundation for what TR has become today, the Second Generation has introduced new traditions giving their incarnation of Serb Fest its own identity.

So what are the first things we think of today, when Turkey Run is mentioned in conversation?
 

MENU
DRINK
HIKING
BEER FLOAT
BEATER GROUP PHOTO
SERB FEST GROUP PHOTO
SOUNDTRACK OF TURKEY RUN
SERBIAN FLAG
INDIAN HEAD DRESS
GAMES
AWARDS

 


 

 

     

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The core menu includes a mix of Serbian cuisine and traditional American barbeque favorites. What is essentially an endless supply of Cevapcici is the focus of the menu. Considered to be a national dish of Serbia, these 4 inch sausages are made of a combination of lamb, pork, and beef. The cevapcici served at Turkey Run is supplied by the Zelenkovich Family’s deli of preference, DSD Delicatessen in Chicago. DSD uses a slightly modified recipe created by Jovan's grandfather many years ago. Served over sliced tomato and chopped onion, a serving of cevapcici is the perfect complement to any other menu item, or of course delightful on its own as well! It has undoubtedly been one of the few constants at Serb Fest since its inception in the mid 1970's. In 2003, its perception as the quintessential menu item really took off. The focus turned to how much cevapcici was to be ordered each year – particularly, how much MORE than the previous year. A record number, 3 orders, or 450 cevapcici was ordered.... nearly all of which was consumed that weekend. By 2005, the annual cevapcici order had reached its pinnacle at 5 2/3 orders, or a count of 850! In the years following, the order size has steadily declined to more realistic levels, but the fact remains – cevapcici continues to be a dominant menu item throughout the weekend and the anticipation for our favorite Serbian sausages remains as strong as ever.

Another Serbian favorite, Pjleskovica, otherwise known as a Serbian Hamburger, is made by forming patties from raw cevapcici along with chopped onion and jalepeno. Both cevapcici and pjleskovica are often enjoyed with fresh bread from DSD along with Ajvar, a roasted red pepper spread, and Kajmak, a dairy spread.

Traditional American Barbeque favorites include marinated chicken legs, beer boiled bratwurst and barbecue pulled pork sandwiches. You’ll also usually find plenty of traditional all-beef hamburgers and Italian sausage occupying the grill throughout the weekend! The grill is more or less lit in the morning and kept warm through the late night hours. While some are able to delineate actual meals at Turkey Run, many tend to keep a slow, but constant flow of food coming across their plates.


   

 

     

Who can deny the role that fine beverages play at Serb Fest? While hardly required to fuel a good time, as in most social situations, beer, wine, and spirits can certainly enhance a situation! We are certain that alcohol has always been a part of Serb Fest. We see evidence of Miller Lite cans in the landscape of historic photos. Slivovica, Serbian Holy Water, is assumed to have flowed generously. Cika Daca certainly enjoys a fine glass of Brandy to this day. Certainly, for the Second Generation of attendees, growing up, alcoholic beverages played little to no role in their experience. It wasn’t until the “make-up” trip in August of 2001 that the group made a conscious decision to bring and consume beer at Turkey Run. This was the first time that the “kids” attended Turkey Run without the presence of “adults”. Remember, until this “make-up” trip “adults” still in accompanied the “kids” and the notion was that it would be frowned upon for the “kids” to drink heavily, regardless of the fact that most of them were over 21 years of age by that time. There was a bit more of a comfort level, even with “adults” in attendance in 2002 as the “kids” eased them into the idea of them drinking amongst them. In 2003, with the passing of the torch, all bets were off and beer drinking became a focus of the weekend. The group established a tradition of primarily drinking “cheap” beer paying tribute to the “White Trash” theme of the weekend. Miller High Life, Miller Lite, Old Style, and PBR were among the early favorites of the group. Years later, a token case of Strohs became a standby. The “classiest” beer in the lineup continues to be Corona. In 2004, beer consumption was once again amplified with the transition of the 15 mile canoe/kayak trip to a 3 ½-4 mile “beer float”. Coolers full of beer accompany the group, usually carried by 1-2 canoes, around which groups of kayaks congregate. Beers are found sailing through the air on regular intervals to the surrounding kayaks.

Aside from the obvious consumption of “Holy Water” other liquors such as Spiced Rum and Vodka have come and gone with little consistency. Introducing Vodka infused Watermelon proved to be a questionable decision in 2005 upon its explosion on the ground surface of the shelter as a result of being dropped from a height of 15 feet by Dave R.

The only other beverage of interest doubles as yet another reference to "Back to the Future". Becoming tradition during the historic, TR 99.... was the introduction of TaB Cola. We all hopefully recall a young Marty McFly at the neighborhood diner upon his arrival to the year 1955 where he attempts to order a "TaB". His request was met with "I can't give you a tab kid, unless you order something!". In response, Marty orders a "Pepsi Free" (Both "Pepsi Free" & "TaB" were popular sugar-free colas in the mid-1980's) which was met with "If I'm gonna give you a Pepsi, you're gonna pay for it!". Marty finally settles for a coffee. I digress.... In any event, while en route to Turkey Run, somewhere in Central Indiana, Mr. Zelenkovich stopped off at a gas station to fill up the van. Having just finished watching Back to the Future, we walked into the gas station's mini-mart to find no less than a mountain of TaB! None of us had seen this available in over a decade, so we immediately had to buy a case! Each year following, a case of TaB finds its way to TR, even if no more than a few are actually consumed.

 

   

 

     

Deep canyons nestled in the shadows of sandstone cliffs and peaceful hemlock groves are some of the most ruggedly beautiful hiking trails in the State of Indiana. These scenic trails were an important aspect of what first drew the Founders of Serb Fest to Turkey Run State Park in the mid-1970’s. It’s unknown as to how much “off-road” hiking the First Generation attempted, there are countless photographs of the group - men, women and children – exploring several of the trails TR has to offer. A popular destination was the Narrows Covered Bridge, built in 1882, one of several historic covered bridges spanning Sugar Creek that the area is well known for. Through the early-mid 1990’s, the kids broke free from the adults and took hikes of their own – most being much more “daring” than those taken with their parents in previous years. The hike would eventually come to kick off the weekend each year as Jovan and his friends arrived late Saturday morning. The tough hike was a means to build the kids’ appetite while the parents unpacked coolers and fired up the grill in preparation of the weekend’s first meal. The hike was so popular among the teenage Second Generation, an additional hike or two would often follow later in the weekend. As years passed however, as the once young and energetic Second Generation aged into their late twenties and early thirties, the second and third hikes were dropped and even the Saturday morning hike became more of a chore and much less of the aggressive and adventurous hike it once was. Some of the guys still get excited for it, there has been a sense that the hike has become more of a nuisance than recreation. Rest assured though, hiking is always an option for attendees! In 2010, with the Second Generation getting older and now bringing their own wives, girlfriends, and children to Turkey Run, there has been a renewed purpose for a second hike. The first, of course remains by in large, the “guys hike”. But later in the weekend, we’re seeing families with their young Third Generation children venture along the less treacherous trails of Turkey Run, just as the First Generation did with their young children some 30 years prior. The group even visited the popular Narrows Covered Bridge for the first time in 2010 renewing a First Generation Turkey Run Tradition!

 

   

 

     

Legend has it that Serb Fest’s original Founding Member, Nikola Sorak, an avid outdoorsman, explored many of the area’s great State Parks in search of great canoeing and hiking. It’s no surprise that after visiting Turkey Run State Park, there was the immediate need to return year after year! The earliest photos in the Serb Fest archives depict Serbs exiting an old school bus with a cooler – a familiar situation still today. The canoe trip runs through Turkey Run and Shades State Parks and under 4 historic covered bridges on Sugar Creek. The creek, while beautiful, is lazy. Depth, while obviously dependent on recent rainfall levels is rarely more than waste deep and in areas is nearly too shallow to float through. For years, the group booked trips through “Turkey Run Canoe Trips” and often took on the challenging 15 mile trip. A bag lunch was packed early in the morning consisting of a sandwich, fruit, & chips. It was eaten at the half way point of the trip or when the collective group was tired enough to stop for a break. Upon arriving at "Turkey Run Canoe Trips", the group would split into pairs for the trip. This system worked well until 1999 when the pairing of Dan Fash & Nutz resulted in what arguably was Dan's 4th near-death experience of the weekend. (Rumor has it Nutz theatened to kill him with the oar for not paddling enough). This was the beginning of the end for the traditional 15 mile canoe trip. The following year again was a little rough for the group due to poor pairing of talent. OLAF’s lack of grace with the oar and Scott’s deep seeded hatred for water made for a disastrous experience!

In 2001, due to low attendance, but more importantly, an odd number of attendees, the group opted for individual kayak rental. They once again battled the 15 mile trip, despite the cool overcast day. Since then, kayaking has been the preferred method of floating down Sugar Creek for most. A canoe or two usually accompanies the group. The following year, due to weather conditions and low water levels, the group was forced to settle for the first ever 4 mile trip. While this left some feeling unsatisfied, most were more than happy to accept the abbreviated trip. In 2003, due to the persuasion of an overzealous Jovan, one last attempt was made to make the full 15 mile trip. For the first time, beer was brought to ease the pain of the trip. After all, for years, it had been no secret that beer is commonplace on the creek. Most other mullet-sporting men and their ladies could be found clutching a coozie as they comfortably floated through the lazy current. The final decision to do away with the 15 mile trip was made when the beer ran dry after mile 2. 2004 marked the first official "Beer Float". This consisted of a 4 mile float with almost NO PADDLING with the exception of steering the kayaks to avoid down trees or other minor obstacles. The goal, in addition to the obvious focus of enjoying your cold beer was to extend the length of time it took to complete the much shorter 4 mile trip. Unfortunately though, again, beer ran dry by the end of mile 2. At this point, the challenge of the trip was no longer for how long or how hard they could paddle, but how many beers they could slide past the check-point before boarding the old school bus. Two beers per person were allowed, but with a group of 15 or more, it was often difficult for the officials to determine the appropriate number of beers allowed to accompany the large group. The beer was often disguised by a few cans of pop or bottled water placed over the beer. By the 2005, the group had become increasingly frustrated by the two-beer limit (though they had far exceeded it every year). They got wind of the local competitor, Sugar Valley Canoe Trips having no limit on alcohol! While Sugar Valley offered quirks of its own, namely running their trips on a different stretch of the creek, no longer taking the group through Turkey Run State Park, it was more than conducive to what had become the Annual “Beer Float”.

 

   

 

     

In 1998, there was an instance during the Saturday morning hike where a group of the Second Generation guys encountered a man holding a beer in a foam insulator, who was in the process of tripping on some stairs. He exclaimed to those around him that he felt like a "pud". It was at that time that we all took notice of the abundance of white trash at Turkey Run. From that point on, the group established TR as an acronym for Turkey Run as somewhat of a tribute to white trash America, commonly referred to as “WT”. The following year, partially as a mockery of, but also to pay homage to the local Indiana folk, “wife beaters” were to be worn by all attendees the entire weekend. Any other form of mockery of this lifestyle was encouraged. Upon arrival Saturday morning in 1999, the group took an impromtu photo sporting their fresh "wife beaters" prior to the annual hike that would traditionally kick off the weekend. Wife Beaters would go on to become the unofficial apparel of the Second Generation. More importantly, it would mark the birth of the annual pre-hike wife beater group photo. While aggressively running though the hiking trails of Turkey Run, it was commonplace for this group of men in their ‘beaters to be questioned by onlookers, “Are you guys in the Army?”. By the end of the 2000’s, while wearing your beater all weekend would certainly be looked upon positively, realistically, they’re now worn exclusively for the hike and occasionally around the grill site immediately following the hike or during Sunday’s Beer Float.

 

   

 

     

As evidenced by the great number of historic photos in our collection, group photos were very popular in the early days of Serb Fest. While it is unclear as to what percentage of total attendees these photos represent, the intent is clear. In 2008, the tradition was resurrected with the first FULL GROUP photo in Serb Fest’s recent history. While the opportunity to capture a group photo was missed in 2009, a concerted effort was made in 2010 to once again capture a Serb Fest group photo. Rest assured we will continue to put forth the effort year after year to capture this great representation of our group!

 

   

 

     

Further evidence of the group’s affinity to mock White Trash America became apparent in the growing repertoire of music that was becoming the “Soundtrack of TR”. The genres of Southern Rock & Bluegrass music were featured in 2004’s “Fire & Ice Extravaganza” Documentary. Popular artists included Gov’t Mule, The Why Store and Bela Fleck & The Flecktones. A series of online audio releases have followed providing new tracks for the group to enjoy that are “Inspired by the Spirit of Turkey Run”.

 

   

 

     

The Serbian flag was first introduced in 2005 as a surprise from Jovan. A brilliant addition, it stood as a constant reminder of our celebration of Serbian culture and cuisine at Turkey Run. A suitable branch was found in the wooded area of the Park to act as the flag's pole. The flag is typically affixed to a light pole or other structure with the help of duct tape. In 2010, the group was slightly over-confident and left the flag flying overnight and nearly lost the flag to Park authorities. It was fortunately recovered. Unfortunately, the flag was once again lost in 2012 and unable to be recovered. We do however, expect to have a replacement flag flying proudly at TR 2013!

 

   

 

     

The first Indian Head Dress was introduced at TR 2001 by Dan Boskovic. He purchased the head dress at Cherokee Village Campground, just minutes outside of TR. Saturday evening, the practice of passing the head dress around the group and posing for photos became tradition. The original head dress reappeared in 2002 but did not make it back to TR 2003 because of Dan's absence. In 2004, Dan introduced a new head dress, once again purchased at Cherokee Village Campground and once again bringing great spirit to the group, especially to the Hall of Famers. With the original Head Dress having been so well received by the Hall of Famers in 2001 and 2002, its absence in 2003 seemed symbolic of the greater absence of the Hall of Famers themselves. With the Second Generation having felt that an era had come to an end in 2003, and even choosing to retire the term “Serb Fest”, when the Hall of Famers returned in 2004 and with the introduction of a new Head Dress, it was once again a display of great symbolism – This time of the Rebirth of Serb Fest! Both Head Dresses continue to make the rounds as new attendees are introduced to Serb Fest and while many of us have posed for many ‘a photo wearing them, it never seems to get old!

 

   

 

     

Bocce was brilliantly introduced at TR 2001 Observed, thanks to OLAF and was immediately embraced for the simple fact that it was a low stress, highly competitive game that one could effectively hold a solo cup while playing. In 2006, Bags were introduced and soon dominated the competitive spirits of attendees. While for a period of several years, games were a central activity near the grill-site, they have been a dying tradition since approximately 2010 - presumably due to the increased responsiblity of many of the adults to watch after the many new young children in attendance. My guess is that they'll make a come back at some point in the future!

 

   

 

     

Award Archive >

Rookie of the Year honors were first given in 2003. There are a number of qualities that can earn you these honors depending on the competition. While there have been uncontested recipients of the award, being the lone rookie in a given year does not automatically earn you the honor. One must still exhibit a satisfactory display of the Tenets of Turkey Run.

Also first awarded in 2003, the Cevapcici Consumption Award was created to encourage out-of-control consumption of cevapcici. Brian Kelley, its first recipient, secured the award by consuming more than 50 Serbian Sausages in less than 2 days. However, impressive single servings, or an exceptional appreciation for this quintessential TR menu item may earn you the honors as well.

The Intellectual of the Year was first awarded to one-time TR attendee, Vince Kus in 2004. This of course, is not awarded for true intellect, but rather for more or less, “marching to the beat of your own drummer”. In 2008, the award was renamed in honor of its original recipient and the greatest intellectual of our group to ever grace Serb Fest.

Most Improved, first awarded to Nutz in 2003, is only awarded upon there being an appropriately deserving attendee. Achieving this honor is the expected goal for any attendee earning a demerit his/her previous year. This precedent was set following Nutz’s 2002 demerit.

First awarded in 2005, the Golden Cevapcici Award is coveted by all. The highly sought after pile of plaster meat is generally awarded biennially (every two years) to the attendee who best exemplifies the Tenets of Turkey Run while particularly displaying year-round Spirit for Turkey Run. It has also served as somewhat of a “lifetime achievement award” for some of its recipients. The award is to be proudly displayed in the recipient’s home for the two year period before being returned to Turkey Run for the next presentation.

   

   
 

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