Turn Back The Clock: A Look Back at TR 01 (and TR 01 Observed) - Ten Years Later

Going into 2001, Serb Fest’s second generation had grown to a respectable group. The men, led by Jovan Zelenkovich, included 3 time attendee, Scott Berger, 2 time attendees Jeff Heitzman and OLAF and a young Brian Kelley coming off of his rookie Serb Fest. However as Spring of 2001 approached, Jovan, Nutz and OLAF were in the midst of planning a post-graduation backpacking trip to Western Europe which would conflict with the typical scheduled Memorial Day Weekend trip to Turkey Run. While the conflict with TR was unfortunate, the group agreed that the one-time “sabbatical” in the name of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel together to Europe was an acceptable excuse to forgo Serb Fest. As an alternative, the group agreed upon a “make-up” weekend in mid-August to gather at Turkey Run.

As Memorial Day weekend approached and most of the group out of the country, Scott Berger was faced with an interesting scenario. Not making the trip to Europe put him in the position to still make the regular Memorial Day trip to TR to join the legion of Serbs and other regular TR attendees. It took little consideration for him to realize he would be foolish to miss the opportunity not only to participate in Serb Fest 2001, but represent the group and his generation. He went on to recruit two individuals who would go on to become Councilmen and significant contributors to today’s TR dynamic: his brother Krangis and CR. The Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend, the trio packed themselves, their bags and a cooler into the car and headed to DSD Delicatessen near Lawrence and Pulaski in Chicago. This was an important trip for not only Scott, but the Second Generation as prior to this trip, cevapcici and other Serbian fare was supplied by Mr. Zelenkovich and the other First Generation Serbs. Not knowing who exactly he’d find upon arriving to Turkey Run and not wanting to impose by assuming he and his buddies would be welcome to their food, he felt it would be appropriate to pick up a supply of Serbian Food of their own. Unsure of how much would be appropriate, the trio picked up a half order – 75 cevapcici. They carefully positioned them in their cooler and proceeded on to the beautiful State of Indiana!

Upon their arrival, they immediately recruited someone to capture a then third-annual pre-hike wife beater photo (unfortunately, the 2000 photo was destroyed in a canoe accident). The group embarked on a hike that to this day lives as the most intense hike any of them have experience at Turkey Run. They found themselves well off the beatin’ path climbing to heights that they been unable to reach again. It was exhausting, but exhilarating! Post hike, they set up camp in a small shelter along the gravel trail running adjacent to the parking lot near the Nature Center. It wasn’t until later that evening that they found the rest of the Serb Fest contingent camped out in the main shelter, fireside. It was this night that a gentlemen, then unknown to Scott unveiled an Indian Head Dress that he and his wife had picked up at the nearby Cherokee Village Campground. The gentleman was none other than Crazy Dan Boskovic. That Head Dress made its rounds that evening – with everyone full of spirit and eager to pose for a photo! This would go on to become an annual tradition over the next decade. The Serbs welcomed Scott, Krangis and CR and it affirmed the notion that at Serb Fest, you’re family. But that didn’t come without one stipulation – Mr. Z reminded us all that, “You eat, or you’re out!”

With his efforts in 2001, Scott earned “Founding Member” status and since has retained much of the responsibility for orchestrating the festivities at Serb Fest.

The “make-up” trip to Turkey Run followed in August. The core group of Second Generation men attended, including Jovan, Scott, OLAF and Nutz. Brian Kelley returned following his rookie Serb Fest of 2000 despite his opting to not join the skeleton crew during the May trip to TR. The “make-up” trip also provided a unique opportunity for new recruits Krangis and CR to make their second trip to TR in their first year which surely contributed to their establishing a firm foundation of spirit and passion for Turkey Run. The trip was abbreviated, with the group arriving late Friday night and departing Sunday afternoon. Because the trip was planned “last minute”, at least as compared to the typical Memorial Day Weekend trips, rooms were not available at Turkey Run Inn. As an alternative, Scott recommended the group camp at nearby Cherokee Village Campground, where he had stayed during his first trip to Turkey Run in 1997. As the group approached Turkey Run State Park well past midnight on Friday, they had a considerably challenging time finding the campground. Scott remembered it being on a particular stretch of road en route to Turkey Run, but in fact it was much closer to the Park than he had recalled. Remember, this was essentially the first time the group had driven themselves to Marshall, IN (with the exception of Scott’s trip earlier that year), so they were not well versed in their surroundings – especially in the black of night! While it was no Serb Fest, there’s no denying that the weekend was important to the evolution of Serb Fest. The weekend could be considered an unofficial dry-run of the eventual passing of the torch to the Second Generation that would occur 2 years later when, for the first time in Serb Fest’s storied history, no elders were in attendance and the Second Generation took control of weekend. Another significant event that transpired was OLAF’s initiation of Bocce Ball. While its popularity peaked in the mid 2000’s, a decade later, it remains a treasured activity at Serb Fest.

Unanimously deemed as a great success, 2001 proved that the Second Generation group was maturing and were poised to soon "pick up the machete and continue blazing the trail".

PHOTOS :: TR 2001




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