Greek Fest04

Kappas performs at Greek fest at the Greek Orthodox Church on Sept. 30, 2018.

For 40 years now, Greek Fest has been an exciting, fun-filled opportunity for the Knoxville community to experience Greek culture.

The wide array of amazing foods and beverages, the festive, welcoming atmosphere and the opportunity to experience authentic Greek culture right here in East Tennessee draws thousands of people to Greek Fest every year. With this year being the 40th anniversary of Greek Fest, the event is shaping up to be even more exciting.

Hosted by the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George for the first time in 1980 as a way for the Church to expand its presence in the Knoxville community, Greek Fest has quickly expanded over the years to become a premier event that thousands of people look forward to every year.

Lori Liakonis, a St. George church member, talked about the origins of Greek Fest.

“Greek Fest began when the St. George community was relatively small, as a way to reach out to the surrounding Knoxville community in an effort to share the Greek culture and Orthodox faith,” Liakonis explained. “The first festivals were simply bake sales but then grew to include savory food as well as entertainment. Every addition through the years has been a reflection of the people of St. George. Parishioners take extreme pride in their history, so to share it with the community is an honor and a joy.”

Rev. Father Anthony Stratis, the archpriest of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, also discussed the history of Greek Fest and noted the fast growth of the event over the years.

“It began on a much smaller scale than what we have today, serving only meals in the hall and pastries out in our parking lot. Now pastries are sold indoors, where we also have our vendors, and outside we have our various food booths,” Stratis explained. “This will be my ninth festival here in Knoxville and in that time we have seen remarkable growth in many ways – our Greek Fest grows each year in popularity! It can be said that the Greek Fest has become an annual hallmark in the life of the general public in Knoxville and East Tennessee.”

Additionally, Stratis noted the role of Greek Fest in allowing the St. George community to share its culture with the surrounding community.

“By opening our doors to the public we are able to share our culture, our foods, and our faith with our neighbors,” Stratis said.

For Greek Fest guests this year, Stratis explained that they can be expect the same standard of excellence, but that there will also be some new features this year.

“For our guests who visit us this year, they will see some changes but mostly it will be a familiar scene – a bit of Greek-life here in Knoxville. They will enjoy so many of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches of everyday life in Greece without paying nearly the amount it would cost to fly overseas,” Stratis said. “One added attraction this year will be the Church Tours taking place, once again (after four years in the Hall due to the fire) in the beautifully restored Church building.”

In addition to being an excellent opportunity to experience Greek culture, Greek Fest is also an excellent way of supporting philanthropic causes in the local Knoxville community and beyond.

After settling festival expenses, Greek Fest dedicates a significant portion of their proceeds towards philanthropic work.

“With the proceeds each year, a significant portion is put aside for various philanthropic needs – mostly here in East Tennessee but also throughout our region, nation and beyond,” Stratis said. “The rest of the proceeds go toward our many parish ministries and obligations.”

The 40th annual Greek Fest will take place on September 27 and 28 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and September 29 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church. Admission are $2 per adult, $3 for a weekend pass and free for kids under 12.

“There will be so much available, between the Church tours, food, beverages, dancing, music, groceries, gifts and more, all in a friendly, welcoming, family-style atmosphere that – whether you come for a little bit or stop by all three days – your visit will surely prove to be an unforgettable experience,” Stratis said.

For those wanting to learn more about all the events, activities and delicious foods that will be offered at Greek Fest, they can visit https://greekfesttn.wordpress.com/.

No matter what they choose to indulge in, though, Greek Fest is set to be an amazing experience for guests.

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