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You’ll find a Little Italy district being developed in San Pedro And that’s just part of the story of cultures in San Pedro. Italian and Croatian cultures are so much a part of the fabric of the community that they’re in every neighborhood.

Croatians and Italians are the dominant cultural influences on the San Pedro area from when they came here in the late 1800s and early 20th Century, mostly as fishermen and to work in the fish canning industry.

Today you’ll find those two cultures represented and celebrated by vibrant community organizations.

The Italian American Club of San Pedro presents a wide range of activities, including family-style dinners and festivals.

Another aspect of Italian culture that vibrant today is bocce—the ancient game that’s gaining great popularity. And it’s no wonder bocce is popular in San Pedro. The bocce courts used by the San Pedro Bocce Club are located right on the Waterfront adjacent to the Catalina Air Sea Terminal and World Cruise Terminal and the great views the offer.

The regular bocce matches sponsored by the club are much more social affairs than they are competitive events. As you’d expect with any Italian activity, there’s plenty of food and lots of good-natured fun.

Bocce is one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. It’s fun and involves more strategy than muscle. The San Pedro Bocce Club, one of nine in the region, will host the Annual So Cal Bocce Tournament will be Sunday, September 17 at its courts on the Waterfront.

Back in 1926, a group of people with origins in the southern part of what was then Yugoslavia got together and established what is now proudly the Dalmatian American Club. The classic club building stands near the end of Palos Verdes Street at Crescent Avenue overlooking the Cabrillo marinas. The stated purpose is to preserve the Dalmatian cultural and ethnic heritage. Dalmatia is a region of modern day Croatia.

It’s home to any number of private events in its big ballroom and is also the location for the legendary bi-monthly fish luncheons (last Friday of even-numbered months). The luncheons are open to the public and are served family style. It’s always the same menu: a big salad, soup, swordfish, potatoes and green beans, and cookies—along with carafes of white and red wine. Attendees sit at long tables, rubbing elbows (literally) with politicians, business people, retirees, and anyone else who’s discovered this great tradition. You don’t have to be Dalmatian or Croatian to enjoy a great meal, company, stories, and history.

Croatia is a diverse country and its culture is equally diverse.

The Croatian Cultural Center of Greater Los Angeles is certainly the most culturally diverse spot in the entire region. The center hosts a range of international events that encourage free cultural exchange while linking them to the Republic of Croatia and City of Los Angeles.

What was once a vacant savings and loan office building was transformed into a city-owned cultural facility and today it arguably brings the most diverse programming to town, much of it through the relationships its support organization, Friends of the Croatian Cultural Center, has developed with the many foreign consulates in the Los Angeles area.

And there’s also the very active Croatian American Club with its hall seating 250 on 9th Street. The club works to create a positive environment in the community by producing and hosting events that range from weddings and receptions to business meetings, concerts, and a series of programs that the club produces to share and enjoy Croatian culture. These include “nocs,” nights of dining, drinks, entertainment, and fellowship.

All of the activities sponsored by the club are open to the public and they are great ways to learn first hand about Croatian culture. Lunch is served every Wednesday from noon-2 p.m. for a donation of $10. The last Sunday of every month from 3-6 p.m. is Family Mostaccioli & Cevap Night. And the club is open every weekday form 9 a.m.-1 p.m. for coffee, cappuccino, and espresso.

The club also works with the close by Mary Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church presenting Croatian language and Croatian cooking classes.

And there are many other cultures represented in the San Pedro community. The cultures of African Americans, Central Americans, Mexicans, Japanese, Koreans, and so many others, along with the operations of its international port, have contributed to making San Pedro a crossroads of the world. 

Italian American Club of San Pedro

1903 S. Cabrillo Avenue, Above Gaffey

310-831-3183, www.Facebook.com/ItalianAmericanClubOfSanPedro

San Pedro Bocce Club

Courts at 470 Swinford St., Berth 95, Waterfront

Mailing address

P.O. Box 46

San Pedro, CA 90733

310-833-3664, www.Facebook.com/SanPedro.BocceClub

Dalmatian American Club of San Pedro

1639 S. Palos Verdes Street

310-831-2629, www.DalmatianAmericanClub.com

Croatian-American Club

631 West 9th Street, Uptown

310-547-9484, www.CroatianAmericanClub.com

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