Greek dancing is a big part of Assumption Cultural Center’s annual GreekFest. This year’s event is set for Aug. 15-18 at Assumption Cultural Center, 21800 Marter Road in St. Clair Shores.

Greek dancing is a big part of Assumption Cultural Center’s annual GreekFest. This year’s event is set for Aug. 15-18 at Assumption Cultural Center, 21800 Marter Road in St. Clair Shores.

Photo provided by Assumption Cultural Center


Tradition abounds at GreekFest

Annual Assumption event returns Aug. 15-18

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 9, 2019

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Food, friends and fun — that’s what organizers say keeps people coming back to GreekFest.

Hosted each year by Assumption Greek Orthodox Church and Cultural Center, 21800 Marter Road in St. Clair Shores, GreekFest is a four-day festival packed with Greek food, dancing, entertainment, shopping, rides and more.

“The crowds keep growing and growing,” said organizer Joan De Ronne. “They come for the friendship and good food. It’s just a summer gathering place before kids are off to college.”

This year’s festival begins at 4 p.m. Aug. 15, with a grand opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. The festival is open 4-10 p.m. Aug. 15, 3-11 p.m. Aug. 16, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 17 and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 18. Admission costs $2, and children 12 and younger receive free admission.

The festival benefits outreach programs of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church and Cultural Center, and the Assumption Nursery School and Toddler Center. Cass Community Social Services also receives a portion of GreekFest proceeds.

“GreekFest is a wonderful event that our entire community looks forward to annually,” said Tom Thomas, GreekFest co-chair, in a statement. “Over 250 volunteers from Assumption and the community really enjoy serving the thousands of people who visit us each year. We have something for everyone; it is truly a family event.”

Entertainment over the weekend includes the music of Enigma and vocalist Niko Varlamos, as well as Assumption dance groups and the Hellenic Society for the Performing Arts.

“He has got a phenomenal voice, and people love to dance to the music,” De Ronne said of Varlamos. “The crowd always comes back for that.”

Performers will display costumes and dances from different regions of Greece and then open dancing to the audience. Groups will be teaching Greek dance steps throughout the weekend.

Almost 12,000 people attended the festival in 2018. Other activities include rides, games, a petting zoo and pony rides, and magic shows for children, along with a marketplace for shopping and tours of the church’s iconography and artwork.

Assumption member Bonnie Mellos, of Grosse Pointe Park, said that the festival is a nice way to welcome others into their community.

“It’s a great opportunity for fellowship and learning about the Greek culture and enjoying Greek food, Greek music, learning a little about the Orthodox faith,” she said.

Members of Assumption spend many hours making homemade cuisine for the festival, including spinach pie, stuffed grape leaves, pastitsio, kebabs and gyros, along with baklava, loukoumades, and Greek breads and cookies. The menu is available at assumptionfestival.com, and call-ahead ordering is available for drive-thru or carryout by calling (586) 596-6326 or (586) 779-8071.

Mellos said that her family’s favorite part of the festival each year is the food.

“The food’s awesome. Lots of great volunteers putting together the grape leaves, the pastitsio and gyros, lots of great desserts,” she said. “It’s a fun day for a family.”

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