People gathered outside the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church for a day of food, music and dancing at this year’s Greek Festival.
The annual festival had to adjust earlier in the pandemic, with a drive-through version in 2020 and a scaled-down version last year.
It returned in full force this weekend with what organizers said was record-breaking attendance.
“We want people to feel and taste Greece here in Louisville,” said Aliki Zagorianos, one of the event’s organizers and MC. “A lot of people have never been there, never had our Greek food, because we don’t have a Greek restaurant, so we want to bring that experience to them.”
The Greek Festival has been around for decades, following the church to several venues over the years, including the Belvedere. It now takes place at the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Lyndon.
Since its inception, the festival has showcased Greek culture to Louisville residents.
“Greeks by nature are hospitable by nature. We are taught from a very young age to do that, to share our culture and our food,” said Emily Digenis, a churchgoer and event volunteer.
People enjoyed Greek food, including baklava and gyros, and listened to music from the Kostas Kastanis Band during the free-two day event. Several age-based dance groups also performed during the festival, and attendees were encouraged to participate in dances themselves.
As a child, Jennifer Sen was brought to the Greek Festival by her dad. This year, she brought her own children.
“It makes the world seem like one big neighborhood,” Sen said.
Sen said she hoped her children would walk away with the same appreciation of different cultures as she did when she attended as a 10-year-old.
“It’s especially important to expose children to all these different types of amazing cultures around the world and not just one,” said Dora Komanduri, who was at the festival with Sen.
Marios Stephanides, a former Spalding University professor and author of two books about Greek people in Kentucky, said events like the Greek Festival help preserve the history and impact of Greek people in the state.
“It helps the Greeks themselves to connect and the young people to connect with your background,” Stephanides said.