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The Greek Heritage Parade took place in Chicago on May 22. Photo: Consulate of Greece in Chicago
CHICAGO – The heart of Chicago was dressed again in blue and white for the Greek Heritage Parade on May 22. Three years since the last parade celebrated Greek Independence, the Greek-American community of the city took to the streets again to honor its national heritage and the Greek colors.
“It is a great joy that we all gathered again with friends, acquaintances that we had not seen for three years and we were given the opportunity because it was a fantastic day with great temperatures and sunshine,” Federation of Hellenic American Organizations of Illinois (Enosis) President Kostas Chaniotakis told The National Herald, noting the great turnout compared to previous years.
“I think the energy and the participation of the people was greater than any other year. I do not remember so many people participating and this has been the general impression shared by many,” said Chaniotakis.
This year the organizing committee made a series of changes which seem to have revitalized the parade even more, helping to increase the participation, and more directly connecting the event with the heart of Greektown. At the same time, apart from the change in the route of the parade, the venue for the morning reception also changed, with the National Hellenic Museum selected – for practical and symbolic reasons.
“The reception in the morning at the Museum – instead of a restaurant where we used to gather – gave the event another air. We met and then walked right out of the museum and started the parade,” said Chaniotakis.
Grand Marshals of the parade were Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost and M.E. Van Valkenburg Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Dr. Andreas C. Cangellaris, and Pan Arcadian Federation of America President and CEO of Olympia Foods Andre Papantoniou. Among those present were Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Emanuel Chris Welch, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, Chicago alderman Walter Burnett, Consul General of Greece in Chicago Emmanuel Koubarakis and Consul Georgia Tasiopoulou.
During the parade, a moment of silence was observed in memory of Petros Galatoulas, former president of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York who passed away on May 21. His efforts were referenced by former president of the Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley Efstathios Karadonis during his speech.
The parade took place along Halsted Street from Van Buren to Madison Street in the center of Greektown.
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