The Croatian Diaspora

Diaspora Ties Strengthen as Croatian Culture Week Proclaimed in Los Angeles

By 24 May 2023
Croatian Cultural Week LA
Croatian Cultural Week LA LA Vatreni

May the 24th, 2023 - On Friday, May the 19th, 2023, the Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles County declared the first Croatian Culture Week in Los Angeles, in anticipation of the Croatian Statehood Day on May the 30th.

During this week, a series of events will be held, including the Croatian Heritage Night at the LAFC hosted by the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). LAFC will host Croatian Heritage Night when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes at BMO Stadium on Saturday night. Following the match, there will also be a special meet-and-greet session with two notable figures associated with Croatia: LAFAC forward Stipe Biuk, who moved to the club from Hajduk Split, and assistant coach Ante Razov, a first-generation Croatian-American.

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History Lecture by Fulbright Scholar Dr. Tomislav Matic titled “Four Centuries of Croats in America - Explorers, Adventurers and Visionaries” will be held on Wednesday. One of the key events during the week is the Croatian Wine Tasting & Dinner including music by Roko Blažević, who represented Croatia at the Eurovision song contest, scheduled for Thursday evening. There will be also Croatian Karaoke on Friday, as well as the first annual Southern California Croatian Bocce Tournament and Kids’ Soccer Games on Saturday.

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At the official announcement of the Croatian Cultural Week in the Los Angeles City Council, City Councilman Tim McOsker presented the Proclamation of the Croatian Cultural Week to the Consul General of Croatia in Los Angeles, Renee Pea. This event was attended by members of the Croatian community of Los Angeles, presidents of Croatian associations and societies, as well as don Ivan Jordan, pastor of the Croatian parish of St. Ante in Los Angeles and don Ivan Gerovac, priest in the church of St. Mary of the Sea in San Pedro, and members of the Organizing Committee of the Croatian Cultural Week, including Jack Barić, the Committee's chairman.

In his speech, Councilor McOsker emphasized the importance of the Croatian community in Los Angeles, especially in its suburb of San Pedro, where they had a great influence on the development of the port and the fishing and processing industry, noting: "Croatian culture is deeply rooted in the history of the port area of Los Angeles. Although we gather every four years to celebrate and cheer on their amazing soccer team during the World Cup, it is the weekly and monthly gatherings that make their impact so strong in our community. San Pedro is home to one of the largest populations of Croatian immigrants in the United States with 35,000 residents." In her speech, the Consul General emphasized the role played by our Croatian community in Los Angeles, which is successful and well integrated, but they still cherish and preserve the Croatian language and culture, customs and traditions, for which she thanked them. She pointed out that June 9, 2023 will be the 30th anniversary since Los Angeles became Split's Sister City. After the speeches, a Croatian singer artist Rebecca Posavec sang two Croatian songs.

On the same day, at a Fish luncheon at the Dalmatian Club in San Pedro, Janice Hahn, Chair of the LA County Board of Supervisors, which represents 10 million people, presented Consul General Pea with the Los Angeles County Commendation declaring Croatian Cultural Week, saying: "I am proud to represent one of the largest Croatian-American communities in the country. Croatian immigrants helped shape San Pedro as we know and love it today". A charter was also presented to the Consul General by Steven Bradford, Senator of the State of California 35 District, as well as Mike Gipson, Assemblyman of California’s 65 District.

This week will culminate on Sunday, May 28, with the Croatian Independence Street Party in San Pedro, which will take place at 22nd Street Park, located at 140 W. 22nd St. starting at 11:30 a.m. There will be an energetic atmosphere filled with music, dance, and an array of Croatian cultural performances.

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Photos credit: LA Vatreni


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