Over four decades Paniyiri Greek Festival has grown to become Queensland’s signature celebration of all things Greek and the state’s largest cultural festival as well as the country’s longest running Greek festival – an admirable success story for the celebration that started in 1976 when a group of passionate Greek Australians wanted to share their cultural traditions with Brisbane. Fast forward to 2018 and this kaleidoscopic cultural explosion is now legendary. More than 60,000 are expected to celebrate with a range of celebratory events in the lead up, and over the weekend of May 18 and 19.
Highlights this year include the return of the traditional Greek village in the Plateia, a Dance Spectacular on Saturday evening opening with a stunning Bouzouki tribute and a standout cooking program headlined by nationally acclaimed Greek chefs David Tsirekas and George Diakomichalis (head of the multi-award-winning Kalymnos Pastries in Adelaide). 2019 also marks the 90th anniversary of the Greek Orthodox Church of St George – Brisbane’s oldest Greek community established in the 1920s – with dancing tributes and a special lecture by author and broadcaster Richard Fidler, host of the national ABC program Conversations as part of the Cultural Program. Bouzouki Kids, a highlight on the Main Stage over both days will feature five children playing the famous Greek instrument. In what will be a magnificent cross-cultural celebration, the official opening event on Sunday will feature the Bouzouki and the Didgeridoo.
More than 30 authentic Greek food stalls will showcase the tastes, recipes and secrets from all regions of Greece, including the Aegean, Ionian, Mainland Greece, Cyprus, Chios, Crete, Rhodes and many more. Think Brisbane’s favourite sweet treat honey puffs, haloumi, dolmades, yiros, souvlaki, spanakopita, keftedes, moussaka, baklava and more. Plus, for the first time ever in Brisbane, Nostimo Greek Restaurant will feature two days of Greek Yum Char created by Chef-in-Residence David Tsirekas!
This year is also significant as Paniyiri Greek Festival becomes the first major event in Queensland to begin the journey to become totally compostable. All food will be served on compostable packaging, with all stalls and stands compliant. The community has joined the Containers for Change scheme, with funds raised from all single use bottles going to various charities.
Paniyiri Greek Festival tickets are on sale from March – to snap one up and check out the huge program on offer, head to the official website.