GSU to represent at Savannah Greek festival

Lilly McCann

Candace Koulouris has been dancing since she was a kid, participating in the annual Savannah Greek festivals since age 10 and is one of the only Georgia Southern University students keeping the tradition going.

“Dancing is in my culture, in my blood. I feel so at home when I’m dancing,” Koulouris, member of the ZOE adult dance team performing in the festival and senior special education major at GSU, said.

The 63rd Annual Savannah Greek Festival, hosted by St. Paul’s Hellenic Center, will provide music, food, shopping and entertainment from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. this Thursday through Saturday.

“I try to tell as many people as possible to come to the festival at least one of the days. I love having people learn about my heritage and the fun dancing and awesome food,” Koulouris said.

Traditional Greek dances serve as a social function to bring the community together, Koulouris said.

“There are tons of dances, the Kalamatiano is a big traditional Greek dance that’s at every wedding, or every Greek social event,” Koulouris said.

The three troupes, ZOE, the adult dance team, GOYA, the teenage dance team and Ta Pethia, the children’s dance team, will perform at various times on each day of the weekend.

“When people are dancing, the audience always claps their hands and gets everyone pumped,” Koulouris said.

Dancers are happy to show participants Greek dance moves and encourage the audience to join in, Koulouris said.

“We make a big circle and you’ll see people grabbing someone’s hand and they have no idea what’s going on but they’re having a great time doing it,” Koulouris said.

The “Grecian Echoes”, a Greek-American Broadcasting station, will play Greek music all day and dancing performances will commence throughout the festival.

The festival will offer a variety of food for sit-in or take out and feature classic Greek dishes including spanakopita, gyros and desserts including baklava and loukoumades.

Patrons will be able to have the opportunity to browse and purchase Greek food items, such as cheeses, olives and coffee at Bakaliko, the Greek Grocery store, or clothing, jewelry, religious items, cookbooks and famous Greek replicas at the Agora Market Place.

Entrance will be free before 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, with a requested $2 donation after 4 p.m. and all day Saturday. Patrons wishing to dine in can place their order online.

“The festival is for all ages, kids, teenagers. It’s all for everyone,” Koulouris said. “Everyone is always so happy and positive.”