A weekend of Greek culture at Holy Cross

Bay Ridge residents sampled a piece of Greek culture this past weekend at the annual Greek Cultural Festival, sponsored by Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, along Ridge Boulevard between 84th and 86th Streets.

For the ninth year in a row, the event united the Bay Ridge community in celebration. Despite a rainstorm that brought the night to an early end on Saturday night, the fair “was a success again this year,” remarked Evans Kotsis, festival chairperson.

“Aside from Saturday, we had great weather, sold a lot of food, and as usual, we got a big crowd. Everyone left their kids running around to enjoy the rides; it just gets bigger and bigger each year,” he told this paper.

Based on the amount of food and drink sold, Kotsis gauged an estimate of 8,000 attendees this year, as well as an approximate 200 volunteers, predominantly parents and students of Dimitrios and Georgia Kaloidis Greek Orthodox School (DGK), located at 8502 Ridge Boulevard.

“We had people from the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Teen Group and Young Adult League helping out,” added Kotsis, whose efforts to recruit volunteers were wildly successful in this year’s festival.

“It had a homey feeling between the music and all the people who gathered to celebrate,” said Rebecca Casaletto, a Bay Ridge resident and annual attendee at the festival.

Kotsis attributed this “homey” feeling to the homemade Greek food whose scent permeated the three-block fair.

“We receive a lot of positive feedback because the food is homemade. It’s not like a city festival. Everyone works together and brings in fresh, homemade Greek dishes and desserts,” he explained.

The allure of fresh Greek food was complemented by the festival’s rides, games, live entertainment, vendors in the DGK gymnasium, and the overarching camaraderie among the members of the Bay Ridge community who attended.

“The Greek festival is important because it gives us a chance to showcase our Greek heritage and culture. It serves to bring everyone together and, more importantly, back to the church,” Kotsis affirmed.

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