Annual Panegyri Greek Festival Is Underway

By Kimberly Eddy

The 29th Annual Panegyri Greek Festival will be held this weekend July 7th, 8th and 9th at the Greek Orthodox Church, located at 4376 West Lake Road in northwest Millcreek, parallel to the Erie International Airport.

Small villages and large cities throughout Greece have annual festivals to commemorate name days, saints’ days, and special Feast Days of the Church and for the most part, this has been true for 1500 years before the advent of Christianity.

Most of the Greeks owe their names to a religious saint. A very important Greek tradition that takes place in the entirety of Greece is that everyone who has a name coming from a saint celebrated by the church celebrates his name on a given day of the year. On the “name day” of someone, his friends and family visit him without invitation and offer their wishes as well as small presents. The hostess of the house offers pastries, sweets and hors d’oeuvres to the guests. In Greece, name days are more important than birthdays.

Each year the festival embellishes the Greek culture by the continuous ethnic entertainment, delicious Greek fare, rich Hellenic customs and traditions that proudly show off the Greek heritage.

Greek cuisine has a long tradition and its flavors change with the seasons and its geography. Greek cookery, historically a forerunner of Western cuisine, spread its culinary influence via ancient Rome throughout Europe and beyond.

Greece has a culinary tradition of some 4,000 years. Ancient Greek cuisine was characterized by its frugality and was founded on the “Mediterranean triad” with wheat, olive oil, and wine, with meat being rarely eaten and fish being more common.

The hours are Friday, July 7, 2:30 until 11:00 p.m., Saturday, July 8, 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., with fireworks, and Sunday, July 9, from 12:00 noon until 7:00 p.m.

Prize winners will be announced Sunday night at 7 p.m.Prizes include a Grand Prize trip for two to Greece (arrangements will be made through The Travel Team of Erie, PA), along with many other prizes to be won.

Admission is free and there is plenty of free parking next to the Church. Additional parking is available at Westlake Middle School (east of the church). Handicap parking is near the church grounds. The Festival will be held regardless of the weather, with sufficient indoor and outdoor space.

For more information on this year’s Panegyri Greek Festival, please visit their website.

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