Having celebrated their 50th Anniversary in 2004, the Mothers Club is the biggest supporter of ZORA Lodge 351 in addition to being active the longest. It was the Mothers Club that began the kolo (traditional folk dances) and tambura (traditional folk instrument) classes for the children back in the 1950’s, which led to the Detroit Star Tamburitzans of today. They are also to be credited with passing on the traditional recipes of our ancestors by publishing multiple cookbooks in the past 35 years. These wonderful ladies meet once a month – whether just to visit or to plan for future events, and are always looking to make the Lodge and our community a better place. Put simply, the Mothers Club is a fabulous place for women of every age to gather and make a real difference.
Star Tamburitzans / Parents Club
The pride – the joy – the future of ZORA Lodge 351. Sponsored by the Parents Club, the Detroit Star Tamburitzans is where the children of Metropolitan Detroit go to learn kolo and tambura. In addition to learning the Croatian cultural fundamentals that last forever, these children make friends that literally last a lifetime. The Stars have performed in festivals all over North America and have even traveled to and performed in Croatia a couple of times. This is the ultimate place for children to learn about the culture of their ancestors – and have a lot of fun in the process.
Detroit Tamburitza Orchestra
ZORA Lodge 351 is home to the Detroit Tamburitza Orchestra (DTO), quite possibly the premier large, adult tambura orchestra in the world. With a history that stretches back over 50 years, DTO is unrivaled in its contributions to tambura music. In addition to several out-of-town performances every year, DTO also traditionally has two performances locally – their Annual Spring Concert in April or May and the “Christmas in Croatia” evening in December. If you haven’t been to a DTO performance, you are truly missing a great experience. [www.detroittamburitzaorchestra.com]
Hrvatska Žena – Br. 32
Although in existence for decades, this is the most recent club to join Lodge 351. Hrvatska Žena meets on a monthly basis to organize the many events they sponsor, such as the Annual Fashion Show, Wellness Days, Tombola (Croatian bingo) and Wine Tasting Parties, to name a few. All of the proceeds from the various events go to charities, both here in the USA and in Croatia (in addition to the Lodge). Plus, Hrvatska Žena was the primary organizer and sponsor for the Annual Tourism Day (in conjunction with the Lodge and A.M.A.C.)
This social club for the “not so young – but still young at heart” meets monthly, primarily so that long–time friends can get together to visit. Sometimes, they have speakers come in to address issues specifically related to senior citizens, or they may simply watch a movie. Occasionally, they head out on a trip to a casino or some other destination of choice. The Pensioners Club is open to anyone, not just members of the Lodge. So, there’s really no excuse for any of our seniors to not want to join in with this fun and interesting bunch of people.
Sports & Education
Over the years, the Lodge has sponsored and hosted various sporting events and leagues, such as bowling leagues, softball and basketball teams, CFU tournaments and multiple golf outings. Currently, we offer a golf league open to both men and women. Some possible sporting events on the horizon include soccer and bocce ball. If you are interested in a particular sport, come talk to us and we’ll assist you in organizing it or help you to get involved. The Lodge’s Sports & Education Director is also responsible for the Croatian language classes we offer.
One of the Lodge’s core commitments is to the Croatian language. Whenever there are enough people who would like a Croatian language class, the Lodge helps sponsor and hosts the class. Our current instructor also happens to be the Croatian language instructor at the University of Detroit Mercy, so you know you’re going to get a professional, high quality education. It doesn’t matter if you just want to learn some basics before you head over to Croatia or you’re interested in becoming fully fluent, we can help you learn the Croatian language.
Croatian Folklore Ensemble "Nova Nada" was formed in 1995 to preserve and promote Croatian folklore through song, dance and costume. Based at the American Croatian Club of ZORA Lodge 351, "Nova Nada" has grown to be considered one of the best adult folk ensembles in the USA and Canada. Performing locally, as well as traveling extensively, "Nova Nada" performs for audiences large and small, igniting Croatian pride in the souls of their audiences. With a repertoire of songs, dances and costumes representing over twenty regions of Croatia, "Nova Nada" can make their audiences laugh, cry, and dance in their seats as they portray the authentic village life of our ancestors. "Nova Nada" is open to anybody interested in discovering their roots, making new friendships, and having fun along the way! [www.novanada1.com]
Annual Lodge Picnic
Every year, on the 2nd Sunday of June, Lodge 351 holds it’s Annual Picnic, complete with fresh barbecued lamb, chicken and ćevapčići (sausage). The picnic grounds has a collection playground swings & slides for children. Plus, there are also organized games for kids of all ages with lots of prizes. If that wasn’t enough, there is always a tambura band to play your favorite songs and get you up dancing your favorite kolos.
50 Year Honoree / Old Fasion Banquet
Every year (but occasionally every other year), Lodge 351 holds a banquet honoring those individuals who have been members of the CFU for 50 years. This event gives these honorees a chance to bring their families down and enjoy watching the honorees receive their certificates and even speak on the microphone (if they so choose). Additionally, this is the one event that the ladies (and men) of the Lodge actually cook the dinner and serve familystyle, just as they used to back in the ‘good old days’ – hence the nickname “Old Fashion Banquet”. All in all, a very nice evening.
Person of the Year Banquet
This banquet is held as a way for the Lodge to say THANK YOU to some individual or individuals for their service to the Lodge or the Croatian Community of Metropolitan Detroit in general. It is not held every year – rather, it is held when someone’s contributions are determined to be so significant that the Lodge and our Croatian community are better off because of these individuals.
CFU Annual Cultural Tour
Each summer (usually in August), the Croatian Fraternal Union brings over a tambura group from Croatia for a musical tour. This is a chance for you to come hear the best and brightest tambura groups direct from Croatia. Each group puts on a 2-hour show and then plays for dancing, rounding out a wonderful evening of entertainment.
This is an opportunity to enjoy a home cooked meal by the ladies of the lodge. You can pick from several soups, entrees and side dishes and then top it off with a fabulous dessert. We hold these Croatian Cafés a few times a year. Everyone goes out to dinner occasionally. Why not come down to the club and have a reasonably priced dinner with your friends? Good food, good friends & great prices.
Twice a year (usually October and March), we send out a newsletter with information about the upcoming events at the lodge, including updates on what’s going on in all of the clubs. Watch for it – you will enjoy getting it!
Go to www.zoralodge351.com for the latest & greatest information on what’s happening in the lodge. It is updated regularly and contains links to other great web locations. Plus, there are some nice pictures of the American Croatian Club to show your friends. Check it out – you won’t regret it!
Membership Assessment $20
Each year, the Lodge sends out a request for an annual assessment. This voluntary donation helps maintain everything the Lodge has to offer, including our hall – the American Croatian Club. Your generosity is greatly appreciated by everyone involved.
Lodge Membership Meetings
As required by the Bylaws of the CFU, Lodge 351 holds a general membership meeting once a month. This is where the official business of the Lodge is conducted. Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion and decision-making of the Lodge, which is generally held the first Thursday of the month at 7:00pm.
This is the part of the CFU and Lodge 351 for those members up to the age of 18. So, from newborns to high school seniors, this is the place to be. The Nest has two signature events – the Christmas Party complete with a visit from Santa Claus (held the second Sunday of December every year) and the Easter Party, which includes a visit from the Easter Bunny. Funding for these wonderful parties comes from generous donations by Lodge 351 members & friends and from the Sunshine Breakfasts, which are held periodically throughout the year. The Nest also sponsors the games at the Annual Lodge Picnic. Finally, membership in the Nest makes these youngsters eligible for some great college scholarships from the CFU.
Usually held the 3rd Friday of the month (September - May), this is a casual evening of pinochle and euchre for those that like to play cards. Pinochle starts at 7:30pm and Euchre starts at 8:00pm. There are prizes for 1st place, last place and “most loaners”. Pizza is usually available for purchase by the slice and the bar is open to serve your favorite beverage.
As a Lodge 351 member, you may rent the hall. Our liquor license with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission restricts us to renting only to Lodge members. The price just can’t be beat. For an unbelievably low price, you get a beautifully decorated hall that is perfect for private parties upto 210 people (our legal capacity). ZORA Lodge 351’s American Croatian Club is the place to rent for baby & wedding showers, weddings, graduation and retirement parties, christenings, funeral luncheons, etc.– but only because you are a member.