Bay Ridge celebrates annual Greek cultural festival

Once again, Bay Ridge celebrated Greek culture with great music, dance and neighbors.

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church hosted its 13th annual Greek Cultural Festival, a community fixture that ends the summer in style.

Unlike past years when the festivities have taken place for three days, this time the festival was held for four. From Thursday, September 15 at 2 p.m. through Sunday, September 18 at 7 p.m., attendees gathered on Ridge Boulevard between 84th and 86th Streets to enjoyed the diverse activities that the local tradition offers.

“I think it went very well,” said parishioner Sandy Vallas. “The festival usually takes place just after the Feast Day of the Cross. Everybody had a great time. There was a big turnout and we had the usual favorites again, like rides, food, pastries and vendors.  It’s a celebration of the culture.”

Elected officials, including State Senator Marty Golden, Councilmember Vincent Gentile, and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, have attended the festival in the past and were on hand once again.

Throughout the weekend, Yianni Papastefanou and orchestra performed along with other live Greek music and dancing.

“The festival was a great success,” said Festival Chairperson Harry Patsalis. “We were blessed with great weather and we had fantastic volunteer support, as well as generous sponsors. Everyone loved the Greek food, pastries and lively Greek music. The kids loved the rides and games. Each year, the festival becomes more successful.”

“People loved the kids from school dancing and dressed in ethnic Greek costumes,” added Vallas. “Everybody’s got their favorites. The young kids love the rides. The older people love the food and we had tables set up where they could sit down as well. They get to see people they haven’t seen in a while. It’s nice to see the community coming together as a family and having a good time. “

But, the benefits go beyond that. The festival, “not only helps financially as a major fundraiser, more importantly it promotes our culture and actually people like to come out and celebrate that,” he said. “Everyone is welcome.”

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