Current students continue long tradition of Bearden participation in Greek Fest


Bearden’s Athena Marlar will dance at Greek Fest once again this year. The event starts Friday and runs throughout the weekend.

Megan Armstrong, Staff Writer

The annual Greek Fest at St. George Greek Orthodox Church is a festival people wait for all year long. The authentic Greek food, delicious pastries, shopping, live music, and traditional Greek dancing bring people from all around to experience this one of a kind experience.

Bearden students Athena Marlar and Constance Paris, two members involved with the church, have partaken in Greek Fest their whole lives, and they will again when the 40th edition starts up Friday.

“I volunteer in any way I can and I also dance with our many dance groups,” Marlar said.

Marlar and Paris are among dozens of Bearden students over the years who have helped this event come to life.

“I have worked in many of the booths we have, such as painting faces in the Kids’ Zone and serving Spanakopita with my grandmother in her booth for as long as I can remember,” Paris said.

The food and the shopping are always loved at Greek Fest, but the focus right in the middle of the festival is always the dancing.

For five years, Marlar has also performed with their competitive dance group called HDF, which stands for Hellenic Dance Festival.

My favorite part about Greek fest would definitely be dancing,” Marlar said. “I love to learn and perform many dances from all over Greece, as it is a wonderful way to learn about my culture.

“All of our groups work hard and practice for months in advance for our festival each year.”

The church and community never really stop preparing for Greek Fest.

“We are always thinking of ways to make it a wonderful experience,” Marlar said. “Our pastry preparations, as well as dance practices begin several months prior to the festival.” 

This year is also the first year in four years the church will be open to the public. The church underwent construction and renovation after a 2015 fire.

“You can take a tour of the beautiful church, and just enjoy the uplifting environment and attitude of all the church members and guests,” Paris said. 

The entry fee is $2 for a day pass or $3 for a weekend pass. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

“I have seen Greek Fest grow so much over the years, and it is truly wonderful being able to see how all of Knoxville loves to come enjoy and learn about our Greek Culture and Orthodox religion,” Marlar said.