BOSTON, MA – Beneath a pure blue sky and covered with sunshine, thousands of marchers and spectators enjoyed the 20th Greek Parade presented by the Hellenes of New England on April 6. At the head of the Parade was Boston’s new Mayor, Marti J. Walsh, who praised the Greek-American community when he spoke to TNH.
Walsh said “I am so proud for this day and the parade…I have great respect and love for Boston’s Greek-American community,” adding that he went to school with many people of Greek descent. Police Commissioner Bill Evans was also present and spoke to TNH very highly about the Boston’s Greek-Americans, stating that “it is a happy day, all my good friends from the Greek Community are here so I am happy to be here.”
The Parade began at 1PM, led by the police motorcycle corps and the Greek-American Evzones Guard, which belongs to the Federation of the Hellenic American Societies of New England.
The marchers paused for a moment to acknowledge Mayor Walsh, Federation President Ioannis Rammos, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, Greece’s Ambassador to the U.S. Christos Panagopoulos, and Ifigenia Kanara, the Consul General of Greece in Boston.
The Parade stopped for a few minutes at the site where the Boston Marathon terrorist attack took place a year ago a and the Federation laid a wreath in memory of three innocent people who lost their lives and also in honored of the more than 300 who were severely injured. The Parade once again honored Greece the birthplace of the ideals of democracy and freedom.
A doxology service was held beforehand at the Annunciation Greek-Orthodox Cathedral of Boston officiated by Methodios. Mayor Walsh, who was also one of the Grand Marshals (along with Methodios and Panagopoulos) cut the ribbon and started the Parade led by members of the Boston Police Department.
MA State senator Bruce Tarr, RI State Senator Leonidas Raptakis and NH State Representatives Tomas Katsandonis and Efstathia Booras were also present.
More than 90 units marched.
The Parade was of the most successful of the last few years. Many had come from long distances such as Cape Cod and Holyoke, MA; Saco and Lewiston ME; Cranston RI, and Manchester NH. According to police estimates, between 15 and 17 thousand were on hand.
Greek School students dressed in Greek traditional costumes added enthusiasm and color, as did a number of Greek-American students from various universities and colleges from the Boston area.
Greek-American author Nick Gage told TNH that “I think we have challenged New York this time, a lot people, very good floats, and a lot of enthusiasm. It made you proud and glad to be a Greek.”
Methodios told TNH that “I think it was the best parade of the last few years. We had a lot of people and very good participation of the communities and the organizations.”
Panagopoulos said “it was unique. The participation of so many people, the new mayor of Boston. We all should be proud of the Greek-American community of New England.”
At the conclusion of the Parade, which was organized by the Federation, with the support of the Metropolis of Boston, the Consul General of Greece and the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, a Greek cultural celebration took place on the Boston Common featuring Greek music, traditional Greek dance performances, and Greek food.
On April 5, the Parade Annual Dinner Gala was held at the Revere Hotel in Boston Newton Marriot Hotel in Newton, with over 300 guests in attendance.
The Greek-American Evzones gave a special feel to the event with their impressive entrance into the hall and the traditional Greek folk dances that they performed.
During the Gala, Greek-American businessman George Geraniotis was honored for his valuable contributions to the Greek-American community of New England. Also, four scholarships of $1,000 each were handed out to Greek-American students from Boston: two courtesy of businessman Harry Katis, one from the FHASNE, and one from the family of the late Dr. Constantine Chionides, under whose presidency the scholarship awards were first established.
On April 4, the annual celebration at the Massachusetts State House took place, organized and hosted by state representatives and senators of Greek descent and friends of the Greek-American community, attended by 250 people. Tarr, a Greek-American, was the presenter.
Irene Pantakides, a Greek School student at the St. Nicholas parish in Lexington, read her excellent essay about “Philhellenism” and Sara Boutsellis, a student of Holy Trinity parish in Lowell read her essay in English. A reception followed at the Greek Consulate, located in short distance from the State House.