Greece is coming to the eastside.
Well not exactly–but all the Greek culture, traditions, food and fun will be part of GreekFest 2011 at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church and Cultural Center.
“Our festival is an annual tradition,” says Festival co-chair Tom Thomas.
Thomas and fellow co-chairs George Dallas and Bob DeWaele have chaired the GreekFest for the past three consecutive years.
“This year we’ve expanded it to four full days of activities and fun for the entire family,” says Thomas.
GreekFest begins on Thursday, Aug. 18, at 11 a.m. and concludes Sunday, Aug. 21, at 8 p.m.
The festival is an end-of-the-summer tradition which captures the flavor of Greece through its festive outdoor atmosphere with live music, Greek dancing and much more. More than 5,000 guests from all over metro-Detroit are expected to attend.
“We have guests who come back year after year and make it their tradition,” says Thomas.
Festival-goers can sit outside or gather around tables and chairs situated under blue and white outdoor tents to enjoy popular, homemade Greek entrees such as leg of lamb, chicken kabob, souvlaki, spinach pie, a Greek salad and muchmore.
Friday, Aug. 19, is Family Fun Day from 11 a.m-4 p.m. and Festival admission is free. (This includes grandparents and aunts and uncles too!)
“We’ve added a petting zoo to our children’s activities daily from 1 to 5 p.m.,” says Thomas.
Other children’s activities include face painting, hair coloring, and braiding to name a few.
“We have all kinds of rides and some all-time favorites include the climbing wall,mechanical bull, fun train station, giant slide and so much more,” he adds.
Dance and singing contests will delight all ages. The Detroit Tigers mascot Paws will make a special appearance on Saturday, Aug. 20 from 1-2 p.m.
GreekFest will offer a new express, drive-thru service via Assumption’s Marter Rd. entrance. Be sure to call your order in advance at (313) 938-6368 or check out the menu online for those office lunches!
Music will be provided by popular Greek bands and performers and other favorites such as local favorite Gentlemen of Swing.
Assumption dancers will perform in colorful costumes representing various regions of Greece. Open dancing will be provided and dancers will even teach easy steps of Greek dancing.
On Saturday at 2 p.m. the Ambassadors, an inspirational singing group from Cass Community Social Services, will perform. During this time, Cass will be presented with a check from the 2011 GrossePointe/St. Clair Shores CROP Hunger Walk that 15 area churches participated and supported.
“Our grand raffle has also been expanded this year,” says Thomas. First prize is an all-new Chrysler 200, two-year, pre-paid lease from festival sponsor, Jim Riehl’s Friendly Chrysler Jeep.
Second prize is two airline tickets anywhere in the United States compliments of Cosmopolitan Travel and four cash prizes. Tickets are available $5 each.
Attendees can also shop the Festival’s marketplace featuring fine imports from Greece, unique jewelry designs, venetian glass, crystal, pearls, and natural stones, casual and evening wear for women and men and some unique Greek souvenirs.
Other market items include wooden handcrafted and hand painted gift items, custom pantry storage solutions, trendy affordable fashions, original oil paintings, children’s clothing and accessories, and feather accessories for all ages.
After all the activities, Festival-goers can take a break and enjoy a Greek coffee, frappe or Greek pastry.
“Every year we have so many people from the community who support our Festival. We couldn’t do itwithout them,” says Thomas.
Grand Opening ceremonies are Thursday, August 18 at 6:30 p.m. Youth from Grosse Pointe South High Choir will sing the national anthems in Greek and English. Dignitaries will represent the community and popular music group, Oniero, will perform along with the Hellenic Society for the Performing Arts.
Free parking and shuttle service is available. Admission is $2 and children 12 years old and under are free.
Festival times are Thursday, Aug. 19, from 11a.m. – 11 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 20, from 11 a.m. – 11p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 21, from 11 a.m. – midnight; and Sunday, Aug. 22, from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. with a raffle drawing at 7:30 p.m.
Proceeds from the Festival will benefit outreach programs for the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church and Cultural Center, and the Assumption Nursery School.