The 10th annual Greek Festival on the Harbor saw a record number of attendees after a one-year absence caused by the coronavirus, according to the Rev. John Lardas of the Archangel Michael Church of Port Washington.
Thousands came to experience Greek and Hellenistic culture through food, dancing, music, rides, and more food during the three-day-long event from Sept. 24 to 26. The event, which is organized each year by the church, attracts people from across Long Island.
“Everyone who comes out to the event can always expect good food, good pastries and good Greek wine,” Lardas said in an interview. “There’s always such a sense of camaraderie and a fun atmosphere. It’s really just a great time that everyone enjoys.”
Lardas touted the cooperation between the church, the Port Washington police and the hundreds of volunteers that spend their free time for months to help plan and prepare for the event. With thousands of people in attendance every day mixed with some lingering concerns about the coronavirus, Lardas said, the event had to be slightly scaled back.
“There were a lot of uncertainties about how the event was going to turn out because of the pandemic,” he said. “We did cut back on some things so we could restart and move forward for next year. We were just in shock at how many people attended it.”
Aside from the dancing, vendors and fireworks, the festival also included a super raffle, with the grand prize of a 2021 Mercedes Benz A-Class 220. Thousands of dollars, televisions, laptops, iPads, and watches were also raffled off, Lardas said.
The event also featured a variety of games and rides for all ages, something Lardas said separates the Greek Festival from similar events. The dancing and costumes, he said, allow the younger generation to become more exposed to Greek culture.
“One of the main highlights are the traditional Greek dances and costumes that represent various islands throughout Greece,” Lardas said. “The festival also has rides that keep everyone busy throughout each day and the entire weekend.”
With thousands of people showing up to this year’s event, the expectation for next year is even higher, Lardas said.