Canberra Hellenic Festival takes over as Multicultural Festival is cancelled
On Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21st of March, the Greek Orthodox Community & Church of Canberra held a 2 day Hellenic Festival at the Hellenic Club of Canberra.
Due to Covid, the Canberra Multicultural Festival was postponed until 2022, leaving many disappointed due to the fact that there would be none of the annual cultural groups being showcased through food, music or dancing this year in Garema place.
This year, the Hellenic club of Canberra decided to take matters into their own hands and take over, showcasing 2 days of Greek dancing, music, culture, language, and food with the inclusion of many different other cultures as well. This was Canberra’s chance to have a taste of different cultures, but on a much smaller scale.
Despite the rainy weather and cloudy skies, overall, the 2 day event had a total of 3,500 people in attendance to watch the local performers and visit all the multicultural stalls and support the Greek community as well as all the other cultures that participated in events.
This weekend was all about being inclusive and spreading the love and joy of living in such a multicultural city and embracing people from all cultural backgrounds. Therefore, the Greeks welcomed many people and organizations from Indian, Chinese, Columbian, African, Serbian, Mexican and Pacific Islander backgrounds.
The programme consisted of non-stop dancing, plate smashing and food eating competitions, a live Greek band from Sydney, as well as many guest speakers and endless entertainment.
The Greek stalls consisted of selling traditional Greek sweets and foods such as Loukoumades, tiropites (cheese pies), Greek Frappes, souvlakia and lamb on the spit.
The event on Saturday ran from 10 am- 11 pm as the Hellenic Youth Club (HYC) took over and showcased Canberra’s new and upcoming Greek band Kefi, as well as hosting a gyro eating competition and having prize giveaways.
On the Sunday, the festival ran from 12 – 5pm, with special performances from the Canberra Hellenic Dancers “Atalanti” group, showcasing traditional and modern Greek dances, following live music and Greek dancing competitions.
Alongside the festival, was also the “Heros of 1821” Greek history exhibition, officially opened by the Greek Ambassador of Australia, Mr George Papacostas, which showcaseherd oil paintings of the heroes of the Greek War and further showing Greek independence and freedom expressed through art. Through language, food, art and music, the Greek culture thrived and was brought to life.
Special guests included ACT Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Tara Chayne, Ambassador of Greece, Mr George Papacostas, High Commissioner Mrs Martha Mavrommatis, President of the Hellenic Club Canberra, Mr Stef Pashalidis and President of the Greek Orthodox Community and Church of Canberra and District, Mr John Loukadelis and were in attendance to show their support for the local Greek community and Multicultural community of Canberra.
This was a great event to showcase multiculturalism in the capital and was the start to many more events planned in the future to keep building upon the local community and acknowledge and increase the support for the Canberra Greek Community.
The weekend was a huge success. President of the Greek Community Mr John Loukadellis shares “people were dancing in the rain”, indicating nothing held the Greeks of Canberra back from having a great weekend full of culture and embracing our roots.
Mr Loukadellis further shared “Thank you to everyone for supporting our Greek School, our Hellenic Dancers and our wonderful community”. I have said it before, we live in the greatest community in Australia. The more we do, the more you will all realise this gift we have in each other as the Greeks of Canberra”.