The Christmas tree was lit in Athens Square Park in Astoria on December 3. Photo: TNH Zafeiris Haitidis
ASTORIA – In the midst of a Christmas atmosphere, with messages of hope and warm wishes for the days to come, the members of the Athens Square Tree Committee lit the Christmas tree in Athens Square Park in Astoria on December 3.
Despite the cold, young and old attended the event and enjoyed the artistic program in Greek and English, presented by Cyprus New York Productions led by its President Phyto Stratis along with the performers Louis Panayiotou, Ariadne Panagopoulou, Aggeliki Psoni, and Demetris Michael, as well as students from the Day and Afternoon School of Saint Demetrios in Astoria, giving a festive tone with music and dancing. The children, in the spirit of the season, sang carols and traditional songs from every corner of Greece, sharing the sounds of Greek Christmas with Greeks and non-Greeks alike.
The coordinator of the Athens Square Tree Committee, who took on the management of the project, Konstantinos Lambropoulos, spoke to The National Herald about the effort that “symbolizes hope and unity.”
“This is the largest tree in Astoria with 4,000 lights. It is not only for the Greeks, but for the whole community. It is a symbol that unites all cultures and I am very happy about that. This tree is for us to be inspired and to believe that even in these difficult times we can achieve anything,” Lambropoulos said.
Maria Markou, a member of the coordinating committee for the Christmas tree and Lambropoulos’ wife, told TNH that she is proud that she is a part of this effort. “I feel great joy and blessings for this unique night of love, hope, magic and unity in the Greek Diaspora! Athens Square was crowded with people and especially children who sang and danced to the rhythm of the Christmas carols. These moments moved us and taught us that with love and humility a simple idea and thought can be realized and be a unifying link for all people regardless of race, gender, social class, etc. The second lighting of our Christmas tree in Astoria is a fact and I am sure that during the holidays we will enjoy it more and more. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas with health, love, and happiness,” concluded Ms. Markou.
According to the organizers, the tree is expected to draw many visitors with beneficial consequences for the businesses in the area.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Iditarod, the annual sled dog race celebrating Alaska's official state sport, is set to get underway Saturday with a new focus on safety after five dogs died and eight were injured in collisions with snowmobiles while training on shared, multi-use trails.
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