MERRICK, NY – In spite of a few raindrops here and there, the St. Demetrios Festival in Merrick drew crowds June 13-16. The organizers wisely put up large tents so the festival-goers could enjoy the traditional Greek food without worrying about the weather conditions, while the sunny Saturday, usually the busiest day for the festival, ensured the great turnout.
“I would say that this year's festival was amazing. The weather did not help on Thursday and Friday, but on Saturday it was very good, so a lot of people came. We estimate that thousands attended. It is important to say that not only Greeks from the parish were present, but also residents of the area, non-Greeks, who support us and like Greek food,” said community president, Nikos Poulikidis.
Homemade food, traditional souvlaki, and sweets were available, all prepared by the parish women. The members of the community volunteered their time, contributing greatly to the excellent service to the public.
"For us, the Festival is not only important for the financial aspect, but it is also an excuse to get closer as a community. All the St. Demetrios organizations, such as the Philoptochos, Greek school, Sunday school, GOYA, and others, act as a team, cooperating and supporting each other,” Poulikidis said.
The community’s goal is to raise enough money to build a community center, which will be an important current point of reference for the Community but also an investment for the future and the younger generation.
"We want to financially strengthen the construction of our Community Center. After the Festival, we will put in place the procedures to demolish some buildings to build the Community Center,” said Treasurer Thomas Zervas.
The live music added even more to the festive atmosphere of the festival with experienced musicians and performers from the Greek-American community.
“We have the older generations, we have American-born Greeks, and people who have recently moved to the U.S. from Greece. Here, they feel a bit like being back home in Greece. We create the conditions that do not exist in America. Our community is like a car, with our engineer and driver, Fr. Nikiforos Fakinos,” concluded Poulikidis.
The Festival was attended by the His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia on Sunday, representing the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Also present was St. Demetrios Astoria School Board President Nick Andriotis.