Home ΟΜΟΓΕΝΕΙΑ September Festivals in NY Metro Area

September Festivals in NY Metro Area

NYC Mayor Eric Adams and Consul General of Greece, Dinos Konstantinou at the Holy Cross Brooklyn Annual Festival

NEW YORK, NY – By Sophia A. Niarchos

Oyster Bay, N.Y. – A very hot summer in the New York metropolitan area yielded to a September that had people yearning for the enjoyment of outdoor festivities that have been found annually for decades in the form of Greek Orthodox Church food and culture festivals. Evolving from festivals held and celebrated by associations of people from the various regions of Greece in the first half of the 20th century, these events became a source of camaraderie, income, and the promotion of the Greek culture and its famed hospitality.

In September, bouncing back from pandemic restrictions and the fears many had in the past of large crowds due to COVID-19, people experienced the joy of community at festivals held by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Hicksville, NY the weekend of the Nativity of the Theotokos; St. Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Church in Greenlawn, NY the weekend after the Exaltation of the Holy Cross; and Holy Cross in Brooklyn and Archangel Michael in Port Washington, both of which held their festivals the very rainy weekend of September 22-24.

Fr. Theofanis Papantonis, presiding priest of Holy Trinity in Hicksville offers the Agiasmo service for the Annual Greek Festival. as Parish Council president, Chris Economou and Philoptochos ladies look on.

Holy Trinity held its 46th annual festival on a mostly sunny weekend, with rain on Sunday coming during a “not-so-busy time,” said festival volunteer Anna Nikolados. “Some new additions this year were Nouna’s Closet, an extension of our flea market that had slightly worn clothes, shoes, and accessories; and the Bonus Raffle incentive, a huge help to kick off our selling of Raffle Tickets before our Grand Raffle on December 3, 2023. There is still time to purchase a ticket for a chance to win a 2023 Tesla or one of 39 other prizes! Either call the church office at (516) 433-4522 or visit our website, https://www.holytrinitygoch.com/raffle “.

“Seeing our GOYA and JOY volunteers was motivating for all our members”, Anna added. “These young people wanted to help make our festival a success and donated time before the festival for setup and during the festival at various booths.  Most inspiring was seeing everyone working together in unity for our beautiful community.  All our ministries and organizations come together, and with everyone’s support we made this year a great success”. 

Fr. John Vlahos, presiding priest of St. Paraskevi Church in Greenlawn welcomes Greek Festival visitors.

At St. Paraskevi, according to festival chairman Tom Argiriou, speaking to volunteers who were treated to an exceptional thank you dinner on September 30, the weather and the immense contributions of time, talent, and treasure from volunteers, sponsors, visitors (estimated to be more than 10,000), and raffle sales led to a record-breaking successful festival.

Weeks ahead of the festival, Sophia Loizos championed cooking nights in the church kitchen, where volunteers put together spanakopites, tiropites, galaktobourika, pastitsio, and moussaka; while closer to the festival weekend, others made koulourakia, kourambiedes, and melomakarona at home. Despite the record numbers of cookies contributed by the bakers, they were sold out by Sunday midday.

“We are so thankful that we had great weather and record crowds at our festival this year,” Protopresbyter Fr. John Vlahos said. “We had over 250 volunteers that offered hospitality to the 10,000 people that came from our surrounding community. Festivals are great opportunities for us to bond with our neighbors and with each other.” 

Fr. John Lardas, presiding priest of the Archangel Michael in Port Washington welcomes visitors at the Annual Greek Festival

At the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church (AMC) Greek Festival at North Hempstead Beach Park the following weekend, the festival committee went to great lengths (orders-to-go were made available via QR code scanning on flyers) to ensure a successful event despite news of the approaching wind and rain, the impact of Tropical Storm Ophelia.

AMC’s Greek Dance Troupe, under the leadership and guidance of Roula Zogopoulos and Georgia Fiotodimitrakis, entertained visitors under the tent, bringing smiles to all despite the rainy weather.

Fireworks have been a Saturday-night staple of the Archangel Michael Greek festival for many years; however, this year’s were first postponed to Sunday night and later canceled.

While the great weather on Friday led to a record-breaking turnout, Saturday and Sunday were wash-outs.

Demetrius Kalamaras, Holy Cross in Brooklyn parish council president, George Christodoulou, Festival Chairman and volunteers welcome Consul General of Greece Dinos Konstantinou

The turnout at Holy Cross’s festival the same weekend, said festival chair George Christodoulou (the youngest festival chairperson of the community for the last two years at 20 and 21 years of age, respectively!), was estimated to be the same – 2,000 people – as in past years despite the rain, with Friday’s outcome having, like AMC, broken past records.

Mr. Christodoulou, who is also a parish council member of the parish, initiated 50/50 raffle ticket sales the last two years, with this year’s prizes including tickets to the Christo Argyros concert at Lincoln Center, tickets to watch the NY Mets play, and such a practical prize as olive oil. He also credits a more proactive approach to finding sponsors for the “more sponsors than usual” outcome.

Whether rain or shine, the joy of community and fellowship Greek festivals provide is something that benefits everyone who participates every year!