Dionysos Greek Festival returns to share cultural traditions

Published on Saturday, 21 May 2022 23:05
Written by Dean Wright


NEW BRITAIN – The Dionysos Greek Festival returned to St. George Greek Orthodox Church for a weekend of food, music and cultural fellowship.

Last year, the event delivered food to visitors via a drive-thru order system. This year, visitors were able to return to share in person with one another.

“For the past few months, we’ve had a lot of preparations,” said Niki Nasiakos, co-chair of the festival. “We make each piece and we freeze it ahead. We started in March.”

She said the festival serves as one of the largest fundraisers for the church in the year. While the church did not hold the festival in 2021 like it had in previous years, Nasiakos said they had a large number of individuals who still ordered food.

The festival also still serves as a point of pride and a homecoming for many connected with the church. The co-chair said it’s always looking for volunteers to help bring Greek food to the many who visit the celebration every year.

The festival has pulled thousands to the church throughout its time since its first inception in 1984. Artemis Nemphos serves as the festival treasurer and has been a member of the parish council since 1980 and has also served as one of the celebration’s chairs.

“It’s not only to raise funds but to share our culture with other people,” she said. “This is with music and food and we’ve had performances before.” She said covid has made it harder to organize the festival but they still had many events for visitors.

Nemphos noted the festival is all about having a good time and sharing what Greeks enjoy with others and to allow Greek immigrants a chance to reminisce about Greece.

Of some of those things, Nasiakos and Nemphos said the event often sees a lot of visitors enjoying loukoumades, a type of fluffy sweet fried ball. 

St. George Greek Orthodox Church Archimandrite Spyridon Chatzis said that he is pleased visitors have been coming to visit the church and enjoy Greek culture.

“We have all the food prepared from scratch,” he said. “I hope they enjoy the food and becoming Greek for one day is a nice idea.”

Chatzis said the church community has been at its current location since 1950.

Despina Benios, festival volunteer, said she has been attending the church since 1961. She helped to create the day’s loukoumades.

“We want to hold onto our customs and traditions and the church is our second (home),” said Benios. “It’s important to make money and support our church and keep our traditions and families together.”

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, New Britain, Newington, Plainville, Southington Herald on Saturday, 21 May 2022 23:05. Updated: Saturday, 21 May 2022 23:08.