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Cooking Greek food at the 1990 Festival
Cooking Greek food at the Festival, 1990. Photo: Michael Klezaras, Jr.

Holy Trinity Greek Festival

The seeds for the Greek festival in Wilmington were sown in 1966, when the Piloptochos Society, a Greek women's philanthropic organization, held its first Christmas bazaar. It was like any other Christmas bazaar with crafts, white elephants, and gifts, except for one difference: Its sampling of Greek pastries proved to be the bazaar's highlight. The following year, the Christmas bazaar introduced more pastries and, for the first time, some Greek food specialties. Within a few years, the Christmas bazaar was overwhelmed by the public's desire for Greek food.

In the early 1970s, the bazaar was moved to a spring weekend and involved the entire Greek community, since the bazaar had grown too large for one organization to operate. In the mid-1970s, bazaar planners decided to emulate St. Anthony's Italian festival, and broadened the bazaar into a multi-day festival, with Greek food, exhibits, carnival games, and live Greek and American music for dancing. To kick off the 1979 festival, TV personality George Savalas was invited to the festival and to sing with the band.

By the early 1980s, the Greek festival had become a week-long event with food and music every night. The seven days of operation and five months of preparation were taking its toll on the community, and attendance was starting to decline. During the mid-1980s modifications were made that reduced festival days to four, and extended hours to include lunchtime, which attract city workers. Entertainment and activities that were not Greek were eliminated, so that an authentic Greek village festival ambiance was re-created. Dance exhibitions by the local Terpsechorean Dancers, with regional costumes from all Greek regions, have become a popular feature. Greek food, traditions and hospitality remain the hallmarks of the Holy Trinity Greek Festival.

Documentation includes a short text, photographs and a newspaper clipping.

Originally submitted by: William V. Roth, Jr., Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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