AMERICAN CROATIAN CLUB OF ANACORTES CELEBRATING 45TH ANNIVERSARY
By Bret Lunsford and Colleen Mavar
The club was founded in 1972. “It was decided that the goals of our new organization were the preservation and promotion of Croatian culture, customs, and heritage” adopted at an informal meeting held to form an association of Croatians which was to become the American Croatian Club of Anacortes. The estimated adult Croatian population in Anacortes in 1971 was 187. Nikola Mavar Sr and Vlatko Kolega were selected as president and vice president, respectively; both had been involved in the early years of San Pedro’s Croatian club and were inspired by the “Croatian Spring” events in their homeland.
When the fishermen returned that fall, planning commenced for a Dalmatian Night. Frank Barcott contributed his artistic talents by making Croatian crest decorations. Everyone helped clean crab for sauce. Admission was set at $10 per couple and happy hour prices were $1 for a pitcher of beer and 25 cents for a glass of wine.
Following the great fun and profit of this first Croatian Club event, plans were made to incorporate. The year 1972 saw the official incorporation of the American Croatian Club of Anacortes (ACCA) as a Washington State non-profit organization.
After years of searching for a suitable hall, the Club entered into negotiations with the Archdiocese of Seattle to purchase the old St. Mary’s Catholic Church building on 7th Street and N Avenue. The structure was originally built in 1920. We have had our doors open at our current site since 1978.
The club has provided a gathering place for local and regional Croatian community members for all these years. It serves as a wonderful place to catch up with old friends and family, have a glass of vino while sharing memories, and it is also a great place to make new connections! It has such an important generational aspect, as many original board members and their children are still active in the club.
The club hosts a variety of cultural events which often include programs such as music, films/books or history presentations and monthly dinners. The Fall and Spring Dinners are special highlights, with Traditional Croatian food, music and dancing!
The American Croatian Club is a nonprofit cultural club with all funds going to the continued up keep of our club and the preservation of our heritage.
We are grateful for the support of the Croatian and the Anacortes community. We are proud of our hall and look forward to many more decades of celebrating our heritage as we have in our first 45years.
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