Brisbane Paniyiri will take place again this year. The event is a success story that began in 1976 when a group of passionate Greek Australians got together to share their cultural traditions with the rest of the city.
It all began with a simple picnic that committee members of the Greek Orthodox Community of Saint George organised at Musgrave Park to share the joys of Greek food and dance with the rest of Brisbane. The event was so successful, that the Paniyiri committee continued the festivities the following year, adding the creation of their own Hellenic dancers that continue to be a trademark of the festival today.
By the third year, it was decided that the Paniyiri would continue to take place as an annual one-day event.
Since then, each year has brought something special, taking the concept a little bit further and seeing the ‘picnic’ flourish into an arena of multiculturalism and cultural exchange.
In 2000, the focus was on the Sydney Olympics with the Paniyiri Festival celebrating Greece’s offerings to the world. The focus was so popular that Olympic years have since been celebrated with particular zest. In fact, in 2008, the Beijing Olympics provided the opportunity for a cross-cultural experience with the Chinese community.
Cross-cultural exchange has since been a feature, with the local Aboriginal Indigenous community involved in performances with Hellenic dancers in 2009.
The simple feast has grown to include displays, lectures, cooking shows and all manner of activities and the 43rd Paniyiri is expected to be the best yet with 60,000 visitors expected to head to Musgrave Park.