Last Friday marked the 94th consecutive Serbian Day at historic Kennywood Park.
The gathering has traditionally featured live Serbian music and dance groups from across the United States. Serbian Day is sponsored by the Serb National Federation, the largest and oldest Serbian Fraternal organization in the North America, and headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh.
Serbs from across Canada and the United States traveled to the weekend's celebration, and this year was extra special as they commemorated Serbia's current favorite son, 2011 Wimbledon champion and number one ranked tennis player, Novak Djokovic. Congressman Jason Altmire sent a congratulatory proclamation to honor Djokovic and the Serb National Federation. "3 Day," as they call the July weekend, has become so popular that approximately 2,000 Serbs attended the different activities.
"Novak's victory has been a real shot in the arm for the morale of the Serbian people, both in Serbia and across North America," said Peter Borkovich, SNF president. "The people of Serbia have been severely challenged with past events."
Recently, 100,000 jubilant Serbs gathered in Serbia's capitol city of Belgrade to welcome home their tennis champion and American Serbs met at Kennywood on Friday, July 15, to continue the celebration. Mr. Djokovic's nickname is Nole, and so local Serbs sported signs reading "no1e" embedded in the Serbian Flag.
At Kennywood, the entertainment included performances by Serbian folklore groups from Milwaukee and Boston. Emcee was Ellis Cannon, a local radio personality of Serbian descent. Barbecued lamb, a traditional Serbian food, was prepared by the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Cathedral Men's Club of Whitehall.
Serbs in the United States and Canada have been enjoying Kennywood's Serbian Day for 94 years. The weekend also offered a Saturday afternoon boat ride on the Gateway Clipper's "Empress" and Friday and Saturday evening social dances at the American Serbian Club, a fixture in South Side for almost 70 years. The weekend concluded with the annual Serbian Day picnic at the Holy Trinity Picnic Grounds in Bethel Park.
"It's [was a] great opportunity to celebrate our Serbian heritage," says Mr. Borkovich. "But this year is even more special with a Serb as the number one tennis player if the world and Wimbledon champ."