Home Community AHI Greek Heritage Night Returned at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia

AHI Greek Heritage Night Returned at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia

AHI 1. -- AHEPA Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas, AHI President Nick Larigakis, Ambassador Alexandra Papadopoulou and AHI Foundation President Leon Andris

PHILADELPHIA, PA. – Photos by Steve Lambrou

The American Hellenic Institute’s annual Greek Heritage Night, held in cooperation with Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies, made its triumphant return—with the popular Phillies mascot, The Phillie Phanatic, sporting an Evzone costume, and all—at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pa., September 7, 2022. Approximately 600 tickets were sold for the 7th annual event which featured the playoff-contending Philadelphia Phillies versus the Miami Marlins.

Highlights from Greek Heritage Night included Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Alexandra Papadopoulou, who threw out the ceremonial First Pitch, and St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church youth group of Broomall, PA which performed the National Anthem. 

During the 5th inning stretch, The Phillie Phanatic, in Evzone costume, joined the St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Media, PA, dance troupe, who were sporting Phillies attire, to perform the Zorba Dance to the crowd’s delight.

St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church youth group of Broomall, PA performed the National Anthem. 

The St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church dancers of Upper Darby, PA performed pre-game Greek folk dances at the main concourse near the first base side. Special guests AHI Foundation President Leon Andris and AHEPA Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas participated at pre-game ceremonies. 

Supreme President Kokotas, in recognition of AHEPA’s 100 Year Anniversary, accompanied Ambassador Papadopoulou on the field where she threw the First Ball.

A promotional video about Greece, made possible by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), was played on the ballpark’s Jumbo-tron.

The Pegasus Dance Group from St. Demetrios Upper Darby, PA

“On behalf of AHI, I sincerely thank the Philadelphia Phillies, especially the unbelievable unwavering efforts of the Phillies’ Director of Publicity, John Brazer, and Director of Group Sales, Vanessa Mapson, without whose support the event could not have been a success”,  President Nick Larigakis said. “I am also deeply grateful to the Greek American communities of the Tri-State Philadelphia area who came out, unfortunately, on a dreary wet night, to support Greek Heritage Night and proudly displayed their Hellenic pride.  Finally, the event could not have been a success without the incredible backing of certain individuals and entities that helped to promote it and to sell tickets, especially AHI Board Member John Vasiliou, who also secured and coordinated the participation of dance troupes and the singers for the National Anthem. We continue to receive positive feedback about the event, and we will continue to work to see it grow every year”.

The dance group from St. George Media 

Later in evening, AHI Board Member John Vasiliou organized a private luncheon for approximately 40 prominent Greek Americans from the Tri-State area at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. Guests enjoyed a special presentation of the “George Washington War Tent Show.” Ambassador Papadopoulou presented on the current state of the U.S.-Greece relationship. A vibrant Q&A session with the audience followed.

“The AHI Phillies Greek Night has become a tradition within the Greek community of Philadelphia, and surrounding area, for seven years now,” Board Member Vasiliou said. “I am happy to have worked once again with my fellow AHI board members on the event and especially proud to have hosted Ambassador Papadopoulou for a luncheon at the museum prior to the game. Our Greek American community and its leaders fly under the radar and do not get the national recognition as others do in New York, Chicago, or Boston. However, I believe the ambassador saw that Philadelphia has a strong and thriving group of Greek American business and civic leaders.”

“We sincerely thank John Vasiliou for his contributions to ensure the day was a success, from doing a fantastic job of organizing the luncheon to his assistance with selling tickets and coordinating the participation of church groups from the area,” President Larigakis said.