This year’s Srbijada was what one might call “standard SUCCESSFUL Serbian operating procedure.” A celebration of tradition, culture, and of course — plenty of partying and good times. Naturally, a Serbian event like this couldn’t go without some brawling, but we’ll forgive the perpetrators this time. A highlight? The victors of the soccer tournament, SSK Karadjordje from Cleveland, Ohio, jumping into the Milwaukee River following the party to celebrate their victory and 2014 Srbijada trophy. The real prize you may ask? Nothing but pride. The defending champs successfully seized their title as Srbijada Champions for the second year in a row.
The celebratory after party took place at “Buckheads Saloon,” which is located in downtown Milwaukee and lives up to its name (likely patroned by hunters, sportsmen and the like during the regular downtown Milwaukee business hours). Decorated with hunting trophies in the form of wild game heads, this cabin-esque locale was transformed for three days (by Brane, Aco, Goran V, Impusle Bend) into the Serb epicenter of narodna, zabavna and rock (a personal fave was”Vozi me na Pale” — played multiple times) — in other words, the place to be for a good time.
Back at the church, in the hall and under the music tent, singers “Aja Dollar” (known only by her alias on Facebook and Instagram) and Mirjana Negovanovic performed under a confetti of dollars being tossed around as they would in a Vegas casino. Dressed as only two narodne singers would be, these two stole the show away from the bandmates who accompanied them. Nevertheless, the blare of the Serbian hits they covered could be heard far and wide, particularly next to the main soccer field, under the tent and inside the main hall of Serb Center.
For those craving a one-of-a-kind meal, the highlight of the menu was roasted bull, with all of the usual — and delicious — Serbian accoutrements available as options as well: cevapi, sarma, gibanica.
The most memorable takeaway from the event was the actual church and the grounds of Sv. Sava. The internal walls of the church are covered with a blue mosaic that seems as if it was pulled straight out of ancient Constantinople. At the grounds entrance, one is greeted by an Orthodox cross and majestic fountain. Then, of course, there’s a statue of the bust of General Draza Mihailovic, who was decorated with the Legion of Merit, the highest medal that can be awarded to non U.S. military personal.
Inside Serbian Center is a Serbian elementary school and a gymnasium where the events are held. The Milwaukee Serbian church organization has very impressively galvanized the Serbian community, and this church they’ve built is just one testament to that fact.
We look forward to the next Srbijada, whether it is held as planned in Vancouver, Canada or elsewhere. Word on the pijaca is that SSK Karadjordje of Cleveland, Ohio is offering to pay $50,000 to the potential Vancouver hosts to have the event moved to their soil. Wherever it may be, one thing’s for sure — Serbs don’t just do it well, they do it right.
Most Americans see Labor Day as a national U.S. holiday; they get their hamburgers and hot dogs ready to be grilled on the bbq, invite the neighbors over along with some friends. Others plan on heading to the beach or lake, possibly a party where they can show off how they look in white one last time before the summer ends. For Serbs who live in the U.S. and Canada it means something totally different. Labor Day marks the annual event known to all Serbs as “Srbijada”. For most who have attended know why it is so special. It has been a tradition in the Serbian-American/Canadian community for 22 years now (1993 being the first ever Srbijada, held in Windsor, Canada). The event is based around a soccer tournament which most of the Serbian teams in North America participate in. The 22nd annual Srbijada will be held this year in Milwaukee Wisconsin on the grounds of the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral located on 3201 S. 51st. Street Milwauikee, WI 53219. The event will be hosted by the local Serbian Soccer team “United Serbians”. The weekend will be filled with events from day to night. Serbian bands, singers and DJ’s will be in full effect so bring your dancing shoes. Surely, the local Serbian Folk Ensemble “Sumadija” headed by Michael Malich (Artistic Director) will be performing. The standard menu will most likey be served, Serbian delicacies such as cevapi, prasetini, jagnjetini, kupus etc. 1000’s of Serbs will descend on Milwaukee August 29th 2014. If you haven’t been, there is still plenty of time to book a ticket or plan for a drive. Bring your kids and spread Serbian culture and help the tradition last. Stay tuned to Serb Life as we will be bringing you live coverage of the shenanigans via twitter (@serblifemag) and instagram (@serblifemagazine). Hope to see everyone there!
St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral: http://www.stsava-milw.org/
United Serbs: http://www.unitedserbians.com/srbijada2014.html
Sumadija Serbian Folk Ensemble: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sumadija-Serbian-Folk-Dance-Ensemble/249946878393364