Sunday, November 07, 2010

Can you say Ćevapčići? Mae, 1, and her mother, Monica, wait for Daddy James Weston to finish grilling sausages from his new business, Salt and Thyme.
Chloe Sohngen, 4, and Isabel Hegge,13, calling themselves sausage princesses, wear festive dress for the occasion

San Pedro Ćevapčići Festival Huge Success; Hundreds Pour in to Taste the Succulent, Skinless Sausages That Germinated in Turkey and Migrated Across the Balkans Arriving at Last in San Pedro
Slobodan Dimitrov (middle), one of the festival creators, looks on as the čevapčiči is grilled, the smoky smell mingling with the ocean air.

Susan McKenna, owner of Nosh Cafe, serves rolls to those attending the festival. Above Owen Tirre (left) and Allan Johnson enjoy the festivities.
People line up patiently to taste the sausages. Below Artist Phobe Barnum, left, with her friend, 
Andrea Lien, who owns White Feather Works, reflect good spirits at the first-time festival.
By Diana L. Chapman
Scores of čevapčiči (che vap chi chi) lovers showed up for the “skinless sausage” festival Sunday – the first of its kind in San Pedro -- and lines were long to taste the succulent treats at the Angels Gate Cultural Center.

Festival creators believe about 1,000 people attended  the brainchild of Slobodan Dimitrov, a local photographer. He teamed up with Nosh Café owner, Susan Mckenna, to pull off the affair that came with live bands, wine tasting, dancing – and local artists selling their wares.

The creators said they invented the festival as a signature event to encourage residents from all over Los Angeles to visit the harbor community. The festival received wide support from residents – and the Coastal Neighborhood Council sponsored it with $1,000.

It was “just fantastic and very gratifying,” said McKenna. “We had so much fun and so much support and all the donations.”

James Weston, who recently started a business called Salt and Thyme that specializes in hand crafted gourmet foods, called the event thrilling, well attended and a complete success.

"I thought it was great," Weston said. "It didn't have that grubby, money feeling that you get sometimes at carnivals where everything cost money, like entrance fees and the rides. It was a nice community event."  

The skinless sausages originated in Turkey and then spread through the Balkans into Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and many other countries. The sausage landed in San Pedro when many immigrant families arrived here six generations ago. It’s typically  a mixture of beef and lamb and is served with chopped onions and red pepper.

Donations poured in from all over San Pedro. Besides Weston, companies donated and grilled sausage at the event  included A-1 Market, South Shores Meat Market, Goga International Market, the Whale and Ale and Pavich’s Brick Oven Pizza.