- Terelle Jerricks
By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor
The Cevapcici festival is off and so is San Pedro’s designation as a destination spot in Southern California travel magazine, Westways, said one of the organizers, Slobodan Dimitrov–explaining that they came up a dollar short and a day late in raising the funds to host the second annual event, after failing to secure grants from the local neighborhood councils, which were significant donors last year.
“Last year we raised $6,000 in the space of x amount of time. This time we showed up and we were either too early or too late,” Dimitrov said.
The failure was largely attributed to poor timing given that at least two of the boards had a change over after holding elections and had made changes to bylaws regarding how Neighborhood Council monies were spent.
Of the five destination events that was to be included in Westways, the Cevapicici festival, an annual event started two years ago, would have been the only one featured with a photo in the Southern California travel magazine. With a circulation 3.8 million circulation that is mailed directly to the members of AAA auto club, Westways is a potent marketing tool for a town trying to gain recognition as a destination.
The Cevapcici Festival, is named after a ground beef and lamb combination, that is grilled and served with onions and Ivar, a common dish in the Balkans.
“Last year, we did it legally and with the city raising permits. That was not cheap. And we broke even,” Dimitrov noted.
“Westways called us. We didn’t call them. They nursed us through the process and made sure we did everything thing right.”
The organizers were able to raise about $1,500 from other sources. But as the deadline grew closer and the possibility of getting the balance of funds needed became remote, the organizers had to make the painful decision to pull the plug on the event.
Dimitrov and co-organizer Susan Mckenna are in the process of refunding the the money that was raised for the festival.
McKenna noted that it was shame that the councils weren’t able to step in the way were able to last year. But then took a broader view noted since the City of Los Angeles has stopped funding events, a lot of the small community events have sort slipped through the cracks has permit fees and street closure costs have gone up. Events that have gone by the wayside include Hot Pedro Nites where classic cars cruise down Pacific Ave in a kind of festival that included live music to the downhill Lions Soapbox race. The Taste in San Pedro cancellation for this year was just the latest to bite the dust.
“We’re not happy (about this), but we’re not destroyed.” Dimitrov said. “We’ll bring it back next year, restructured a bit so as to avoid some of the pitfalls we’ve faced this year.”