Grace Vallante attended her first Greek Fest in 1999, and the Bearden junior hasn’t missed one since.
St. George Greek Orthodox Church is throwing its annual Greek Fest this weekend, and Bearden students who are members of the church are always excited about the event.
Since the first grade, Vallante has participated in the festival’s main event – traditional Greek dancing. Grades 1-12 perform at the festival, and the competitive team performs as well.
“We have (dance shows) multiple times a day,” Vallante said. “You can see kids in our community from first grade to 12th grade.”
The festival features food, dancing, and vendors. They are bringing back the classics such as Gyros, Baklava,and other traditional greek dishes.
“We have many different food options from savory to sweet,” Vallante said.
The main point of the event is to fundraise for the church, especially after the church suffered from a fire a year and a half ago, the majority of the money is going toward its restoration.
However, the festival is more than just amazing food and dancing – it’s a way for the members of the church to come together to put on such a fun event that celebrates Greek culture.
“Greek Fest is important to me because it is a way where we, as a St. George community, can showcase our love and pride for our culture and share it with Knoxville,” Vallante said. “Heritage and culture is very important to Greeks and I love being able to share it.
“I am the third generation working at this festival, and I love being able to work with my mom and grandma and being able to dance the dances that have been passed down through the years.”
Sophomores Marianna Natour and Anna Duffey will also participate in the event.
“Greek Fest is important to me because even though our church has been through so much, it can still come together to not only fundraise, but to show the community who we are and to have fun while doing it,” Natour said.
Added Duffey: “Greek Fest affects the community for the good. It represents my heritage and culture and who I am, and it also lets you see other cultures that you don’t see everyday.”
The three-day festival started Friday and will run through Sunday. On Friday and Saturday the festival will be from 11:00am-12:00pm, and on Sunday from 11:00am-8:00pm.