Turn Back The Clock: A Look Back at TR 99 - Ten Years Later

TR 1999 remains perhaps the most infamous of Serb Fests of all time! With several near-death experiences through-out the weekend, so much of what we know Turkey Run to be today began this very weekend. A small group of men, still years away from being able to legally drink piled into the Zelenkovich Family Van for the trek down to Marshall, Indiana at a time when the drive was measured simply by the amount of time it took to watch "Back to the Future" & "Top Gun" back-to-back.

While it may not be the first year that Jovan invited friends to Turkey Run, it was certainly a weekend that saw a great number of firsts. There, unknowingly witnessing great history, along side Jovan, was a young, 19 year old, second-time Serb Fest attendee, Scott Berger, first time attendee Jeff "Heitz-Nutz" Heitzman, and the infamous "DFASH" who made an immediate impact on Serb Fest history with 3 near-death experiences over the course of the weekend (and arguably, a 4th)! These incidents have been well documented and was referenced as Jovan's "most memorable moments" in 2004's "Fire & Ice Extravaganza" documentary. An exclusive interivew with DFASH himself was included as a Bonus Feature in 2006's "Special Edition" re-release. Of course, these incidents are among the most retold stories at Serb Fest, so if for whatever reason you are unfamiliar with them, listen closely the next time you're sitting around the fire. TR 1998 first-time attendee, OLAF, then known as "Erik" was unable to attend due to a summer internship he had started prior to Memorial Day in Los Angeles. At the time, the idea of flying back to Chicago for a weekend was simply unrealistic. 10 years later, we've had attendees fly in from coast to coast!

Upon arrival Saturday morning, 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 Serb Fest. More importantly, it would mark the birth of the annual pre-hike wife beater group photo.

TR 99 marked the very first time the acronym "TR" was used in referenced to Turkey Run. It was during the hike that the group took notice of the overwelming number of "white trash" locals who seemingly flocked to Turkey Run State Park on Memorial Day Weekend. Of course, a commonly used acronym for White Trash is "WT". So, in the same vein, we began referring to Turkey Run simply as "TR".

Believe it or not, there was a time where alcohol played no role in our generation's particpation in Serb Fest - except for the frequently quoted line from "Back to the Future" in which Biff disgustingly proclaims to George McFly, "What? I have your car towed all the way to your house to you, and all you have for me is Lite Beer?!". While today we spend our late nights (and most of the day for that matter) consuming alcoholic beverages, in 1999, you'd typically find the group along with the girls piled onto the beds in one of the cabins for "movie night". Commonly viewed was "Cool Runnings", "Cocktail" (during which Nutz affectionaly earned the spin-off nickname - Cruise-Nutz), and embarrassingly, Disney's "A Goofy Movie" (For which the explanation of this selection, I have to respectfully defer to Jovan). Movie Night would be retired a few short years later, though breifly resurrected in 2003 for the viewing of the newly released "Fire & Ice" documentary.

Yet another reference to "Back to the Future" became tradition at TR 99.... TaB. We all hopefully recall a young Marty McFly at the neighborhood diner when he first arrived in the year 1955 where he attempts to order a "TaB" which 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.

While we felt like men, we were merely children at the time. But we were eagar to share in the great history of Serb Fest and continue to uphold its great traditions, while at the same time, creating a great number of new traditions of our own. It was a weekend like this that solidified the importance & significance of the weekend to the original attendees of present-day Serb Fest... this message would be spread to others and the weekend would continue to blossom in coming years.


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