Brisbane Paniyiri pulls in the crowds
Under bright blue skies Brisbane's Paniyri festival celebrated its 36th birthday last weekend, attracting in excess of 60,000 guests who immersed themselves in a feast of Hellenic frolics
Under bright blue skies Brisbane's Paniyri festival celebrated its 36th birthday last weekend, attracting in excess of 60,000 guests who immersed themselves in a feast of Hellenic frolics.
With the sun shining and the unmistakeable scent of souvlaki in the air, Paniyiri-goers danced, drank and snacked their way through Australia's longest running Greek festival at South Brisbane's Musgrave Park.
"We were blessed with two glorious days of weather and it was chockers," festival chairman Chris Kazonis told Neos Kosmos.
"We had 2000 people in a line doing the Zorba, rides for the kids, cooking exhibitions, grape stomping and honey-puff eating competitions. It was great."
With concerns over the issue of the Aboriginal tent embassy and its forced removal within hours of the festival's opening, Mr Kazonis, who liaised with local Indigenous elders in the run up to the weekend, said that the festival proved once again that its presence was "a story of cultures coming together. That's what we're all about.
"The traditional owners did a welcome to country at the official opening on the Sunday, elders were welcomed into the VIP marquee, and we invited the people from the tent embassy to come into Paniyiri, and they came."
Joining the crowds to celebrate all things Hellenic were TV celebrities George Houvardas (Packed to the rafters), Rob Palmer (Better Homes and Gardens) who enthusiastically took part in the 'Greek dancing with the stars' competition with the eventual winner being their Channel 7 colleague - presenter Liz Cantor.
With a budget of around $500,000, the festival's chairman added: "We're different from the Melbourne and Sydney Greek festivals in that all the stallholders and organisations taking part are raising funds for the community, and for our welfare associations and charity groups it's the biggest fundraising event in the year."
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