Iconic Semaphore Greek Festival in South Australia wows crowds again


By Martina Simos

It started as a small community gathering of 200 people in 1979 to celebrate Greek culture, food and dance in the western suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia.

On Sunday, the 42nd Bank of Sydney Semaphore Greek Festival once again attracted visitors from all over Adelaide.

The two-day event is organised by the Greek Orthodox Community of the Nativity of Christ, Port Adelaide, and held at the popular Semaphore Beach.

Its loyal troupe of around 350 volunteers of varying ages worked hard behind the scenes preparing Greek food to be enjoyed by all who attended.

Port Adelaide Greek Orthodox Community president John Douvartzidis said the iconic event attracted thousands of visitors this year.

“We started with 200 people [attending] and we’ve grown to 40,000 visitors,’’ he told The Greek Herald.

“We’re known for our food quality and our program of events – live bands, DJs, and local Greek dance groups to satisfy families of all nationalities.

“We are all so glad to be back and re-connecting again… and our festival is a vital step to do this. Thanks to the current Labor Government on their leadership.”

The special guests who attended the Semaphore Greek Festival included the Premier of South Australia, Peter Malinauskas; the SA Deputy Premier, Dr Susan Close MP; the Consul General of Greece in Adelaide, George Psiachas; His Grace Bishop Silouan of Sinope, Stephen Mullighan MP; Joe Szakacs MP; Mark Butler MP; Stephen Patterson MP; City of Port Adelaide Enfield Mayor Claire Boan; Ms Adriana Christopoulos and Ms Daniela Baricevac.

Behind the scenes, the food prepared by the dedicated volunteers included 1,000 kilograms of calamari, 2,000 kilograms of lamb kontosouvli, 15,000 souvlakia, 10,000 yiros, 1,500 kilograms of chips and 40,000 loukoumathes.

Mr Douvartzidis said he is proud the huge team of volunteers is made up of four generations who all work side-by-side to ensure the event is a success.

In his speech, Mr Douvartzidis also acknowledged the support from visitors, friends and sponsors, which also included The Greek Herald.

“The volunteers are proud of their community and heritage,’’ he said. “It drives them to be the best in everything we do.’’

During the festival, the Premier of South Australia, the Hon Peter Malinauskas MP, announced a pre-election pledge of $2 million towards the new cultural center that will be built near the local Greek church.

The proposed centre will have the capacity for a school to teach the Greek language, a dance academy, music school, performing arts groups and youth groups.

“Language is fundamentally central to the Greek culture,’’ the Premier said.

“I’m very proud of the fact that my Government is contributing $2 million to the Greek Language School here in Port Adelaide.’’

Mr Douvartzidis said the PAGOC community is grateful for the support of Bank of Sydney, the Government of SA and the City of Port Adelaide Enfield.




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