When Stelios Angelodemou, president of the Cyprus Community of Melbourne and Victoria, first conceived the idea of a Halloumi Festival in Melbourne, he could non have anticipated its actual success.
“It’s success was beyond our expectations,” Mr Angelodemou told Neos Kosmos.
“Many thousands of people – among them ministers, MPs and other dignitaries came by the Cyprus Community during the weekend, to enjoy halloumi and other delicacies, as well as singing and dancing.”
Celebrity chef George Calombaris, who visited the festival, praised halloumi and all the other delicacies on offer.
According to Mr Angelodemou, the festival attracted many visitors of non-Greek background.
“We had all ethnicities – from Egnlish tourists to Turks and Arabs,” Mr Angelodemou said.
George Kyprianou, Treasurer of the Panagrotikos Farmers Union of Cyprus, which supported the event, also seemed to be impressed and stated that the Halloumi Festival is going to be an annual event.
“Not even in Cyprus can we attract so many visitors,” he said.
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos represented the State Government of Victoria. She announced the Andrews Labor government’s pledge to fund the Cyprus Community of Melbourne and Victoria with $250,000, if re-elected. That is on top of the $250,000 already offered by the Labor government, to be used for the construction of a new community building, at the location where its current building stands.
“Labor’s investment acknowledges that in every way, our Cypriot community has made Victoria stronger and more successful,” said Minister Mikakos, a viewpoint shared by Oakleigh MP, Steve Dimopoulos. “Labor believes we are stronger for our diversity, and we will always support every Victorian in sharing and celebrating their heritage. This announcement backs that belief with real investment,” he said.
The festival was also attended by the High Commissioner of Cyprus, Martha Mavrommatis, the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Dimitrios Michalopoulos, the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria, Bill Papastergiadis, Victoria’s Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis, Minister of Multicultural Affairs, Robin Scott, Energy Minister Lily D’ Ambrosio, Labor Candidate for Northcote, Kat Theofanous, Labor Candidate for Bunswick, Cindy O’ Connor and many others.