The 38th Semaphore Greek Festival, organised by the Greek Community of Port Adelaide in cooperation with the Parish of the Nativity of Christ, broke all records last weekend, with 37,000 attending the two-day festival.
“We were just blown away by the numbers and the feedback we received from everyone,” says the president of the Port Adelaide Community, John Douvartzidis in an interview with Neos Kosmos following the event that attracted guests of all ages and backgrounds.
Also in attendance were the states’ dignitaries such as His Grace Bishop Nikandros of Dorileon, Minister for Education, Child Development and Higher Education Susan Close who represented Premier of SA Jay Weatherill, Greek Australian State Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Urban Development Stephen Mullighan, Leader of the Opposition Steven Marshall, Consul General of Greece in South Australia, Andreas Constantinos Gouras, Chair of Multicultural Affairs, Grace Portolesi, Federal Member for Hindmarsh, Steve Georganas and Federal Member for Port Adelaide, Mark Butler.
“Our grandparents and our parents came to this country and worked very hard to make a good life and to help build this state and we should be very proud of how well Greek people are doing across Australia,” said Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, before announcing a grant of $150,000 towards the Port Adelaide Community on behalf of the state government.
Greek Armenian journalist and media personality George Donikian, who acted as MC on both days, welcomed the thousands of people and members of South Australia’s political elite, which always honours the event with its presence, who contributed to the festive atmosphere while he introduced the various dance groups as well as the four music bands offering entertainment with Greek traditional and modern music.
More than 300 volunteers worked tirelessly around the clock, offering everyone Greek food and exclusively Greek drinks, Greek wines and alcoholic beverages in an attempt to keep it all as Greek as possible.
“Our sole purpose and hope was to make everyone feel welcome and happy, and frankly we are all so humbled and grateful to each person that came through our doors last weekend and honoured our festival with their presence,” added the president, who also praised communications consultant Kyriakos Gold for the festival’s social media campaign, which went viral in just days, while he gave a special thank you to the volunteers and his committee.
“At least 85 per cent of the volunteers these days are young Greek Australians who have come to me with such joy and excitement to offer their assistance; they have truly worked so hard in the months leading up to this event.
“I am deeply moved and impressed by everyone’s positive energy and willingness, and I am hopeful that this is a sign for better years to come, with fresh ideas and initiatives which will assist us in the preservation and continuation of our Greek tradition and culture.”