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Troupe Hellas Dance Group performs at May 2000 Greek Festival
Troupe Hellas Dance Group performs traditional Hellenic dance at the May 2000 Greek Festival Photo courtesy St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Greek Festival

Since 1986, the Greek families of upstate South Carolina have been celebrating their heritage and community in an annual Greek festival in downtown Greensburg. The first Greeks moved to the Greensburg community in the early 1900s. In 1929, eleven Greek families formed The Greek Community of Greenville Inc. Three years later, they purchased a house on DeCamp Street to be used for church service and a Sunday school. By 1994, the Greek community had grown to 350 families, and their new Byzantine Style cathedral, which can seat 628 people, was nearly complete. Since the mid-1990s the three-day festival has taken place in and on the grounds of the St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

The first generation of Greeks were primarily restauranteurs, and many of their establishments are still in family businesses. Their children grew up, went to college, and have professional careers in law, medicine, education, and business. Now their children attend the Greek school and catechism classes at the church, which remains the center of the Greek community. During the festival, families and newcomers celebrate with traditional and modern Greek music, folk dancing, and Greek cuisine, like spanokopita, pastichio, dolmades, and Greek bread. Special sections are set up for Greek pastry, Greek coffee, and a Greek gourmet shop. In the festival marketplace and bazaar, people can also buy jewelry, artwork, Greek cookbooks and other Greek items, and participate in a silent auction. During the festival, travelogue films about Greece and its islands are ongoing; lectures are given on the Greek Orthodox faith; and tours of the six-story high church highlight its architecture and iconography. Entertainment has included the Troupe Hellas Greek Folkloric Society, which has a repertoire of more than 200 traditional songs and dances, and other cultural exhibits.

Documentation includes festival programs for five years, a newspaper article, brochure, poster, three videos, and photographs.

Originally submitted by: Jim DeMint, Representative (4th District).

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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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