DETROIT (WWJ) - Metro Detroit’s Greek community will celebrate Greek Independence Day the weekend of March 25.
The festivities begin at 5:00 pm Friday with a special preview at the Hellenic Museum of Michigan. The museum, which is located across from the Detroit Institute of Arts in the Cultural Center at 67 E. Kirby, isn’t scheduled to open until later this year.
The celebration continues into Saturday with the 4th Annual Hellenic Heritage Awards Dinner, held at The Atheneum Suite Hotel’s International Ballroom at 6 pm. The Hellenic Heritage Awards recognize those individuals who are contributing members of the community and have achieved exemplary distinction in laying the foundation of their faith and culture as they immigrated and assimilated into American society. This years honorees are: Tula Georgeson, Dr. Harry Kotsis, George Raptis, Dr. Mike Syropoulos and Ernest Zachary.
The most visible of festivities will take place on Sunday with a parade in downtown Detroit. The parade will start at 3 pm and will proceed on Monroe Street from Woodward Avenue to the heart of Detroit’s Historic Greektown.
“The community awaits this parade with great anticipation and excitement. it is a demonstration of the legacy of Hellenism and the preservation of Greek culture,” Metropolitan Nicholas (Pissare), of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit, said in a release.
A highlight of the parade includes performances by the famous dance group, Laographikos Syllogos Kyrion Pylou from Messenia, Greece. Over 40 marching units representing Greek Orthodox churches will also be in the parade, along with other cultural organizations, dance groups and area college student organizations.
New to the parade this year are three vintage Model-T’s — two cars and a pickup — supplied by the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum. The vehicles will be ushering a few of the parade’s honored dignitaries down Monroe Street.
Internationally renowned author and “Grande Dame” of Greek Cuisine, Vefa Alexiadou, will come from Athens to Detroit for the celebration. While in town, Alexiadou, who is known as the Martha Stewart of Greece, will be the special guest at a benefit luncheon sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit Philoptochos Ladies Society. That luncheon will take place at noon on Saturday, April 2 at the Somerset Inn of Troy.
The Detroit Greek Independence Day Parade was revived in 2001, after an absence of over 30 years. For more information on the celebration, click here.