The clouds, the wind that turned from chilly one day to hot the next, the drizzle and the threat of rain were not enough to keep Melbournians away from Lonsdale street over the weekend.
The Glendi attracted people from all ethnic backgrounds, walks of life and age groups.
The organisers had catered for the young and not so young with DJs playing the latest pop hits while slides, jumping castles and painting kept the ankle biters entertained.
A multicultural array of food stalls kept appetites in check and many Greek cultural organisations showcased the diversity of Greece.
Saturday night saw a strong presence of young Asian students and newly arrived migrant families who looked in awe at the group of Greek warriors clad in panoplies and bearing shields and spears paraded Lonsdale street – the tips of their spears visible from every corner of Lonsdale street.
A young Indonesian couple pushing a pram told Neos Kosmos English Edition that they have been in Australia for six months and came to Lonsdale street to sample the famous Greek celebrations and exuberance.
“There aren’t many big non-Anglo festivals like this,” they said.
Despite the threat of rain and the drizzle the crowds poured into Lonsdale street for the official opening of the festival.
By the time Aggelos Dionisiou made his appearance – and the threat of a downpour subsided – thousands had gathered around the main stage.
Sunday saw the festival-goers enjoying for the first time in three years the talented musicians of Apodimi Compania, a music band born in Melbourne over twenty years ago, now based in Athens. They played rebetica but also entehno and laika.
Draped with the Greek flag 17‑year-old Alexandra Soukas and Anthea Panayiotou were among the enthusiastic crowd at Lonsdale St.
“We are here because we are Greeks; we came to celebrate the 25th of March. We love the atmosphere of Lonsdale street. We’ve been coming here for the last ten years and now we’re old enough to come here by ourselves,” they said. They both participated in Zorba Till You Drop.
One of the festival sponsors, Con Saris, said about the festival: “The organisers did a good job, it’s not easy to put all these in place. It’s time for the new generation to take charge but we need to support them and guide them.”
The former mayor of Moreland City Council, Cr Lambros Tapinos, was also enjoying himself.
“It’s a great festival. I am very pleased to see that the festival grows each year and for the second and third generation to come here, enjoy and celebrate and be proud of their ethnic background,” Cr Tapinos said.
“This festival is not just for the Greek community. The biggest benefit of this festival is that it showcases the richness of Greek culture and its contribution to our multicultural society. It is one of the biggest and best cultural festivals in Victoria and I am proud to be proud of this community.”