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General News

Pan-Icarian Brotherhood Philadelphia Chapter ‘Atheras’ Dinner Dance Draws Crowd

February 27, 2023

CHERRY HILL, NJ – On February 25, the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of Philadelphia Chapter ‘Atheras’ hosted the last and one of the largest dinner dances on the East Coast before the start of Great Lent. Held in the Danielle Kousoulis Cultural Center at Saint Thomas Greek Orthodox Church in Cherry Hill, NJ, the event drew over 600 attendees, including family, friends, and members of societies from all over the East Coast. Like the panagiri festivals Ikaria is known for, the dance became a definitive panagiri of its own.

It was clear the crowd was ready for a party like none other after two years of COVID cancellations of this signature event. They were not disappointed. Attendees were treated to the music of Sergianni featuring Aggeliki Psoni on vocals and violinist Stavros Skyrianos. The orchestra played for nine hours, well into the morning. It was a tribute and thanks from the Icarians to the community for years of support for this event.

 

The Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of Philadelphia honorees and brothers holding the plaques they received, left to right: Theodore Pasamihalis and John Pasamihalis with their wives, Maria and Stella, respectively. Photo: Steve Lambrou

Kalliope Kokolis, the chapter’s first female President, stated: “Our goal was to let our collective hair down and remind people of the power of societies, as well as to promote our upcoming Pan Icarian Supreme Convention this coming Labor Day weekend on September 1-4, 2023 at the Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia. People from all over the world will be here during that time and we expect thousands of attendees at the Saturday and Sunday evening dances. This evening’s smash success is nothing more than a kickoff to these Ikarian Glendi events coming up. We thank everyone for attending, dancing, and enjoying the sounds of the violi at this special panagiri.”

Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley President Georgia Chlectos and her board were among those present and spoke about the upcoming Greek Independence Parade. They spread the word that on April 2, the parade will once again feature the Presidential Guard of Greece, the Evzones. Recognized with overwhelming applause was last year’s Eleftheria Award recipient George Horiates, an institution in the area, as well as a former past president of the Federation, Pan-Icarian Brotherhood, and, of course, Past Supreme President of the Order of AHEPA. The announcement of the Eleftheria Medal recipient Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandra Papadopoulou and Grand Marshal U.S. Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis was met with deafening cheers.

The Chapter honored two stalwart lifetime members, John Pasamihalis and Theodore Pasamihalis with its Lifetime Achievement Awards. These two brothers took leadership roles in the development of the local chapter clubhouse in Pennsauken, NJ, a hub of Icarian and Philadelphia activities for many years. They were pleasantly surprised and even shed a few tears at the outpouring of appreciation from the packed crowd.

Event chair Theologos Horiates said: “I am amazed how this dance is so appreciated for what it is, a community experience. With local attendees, other societies attending, and people from Connecticut, New York, down to Baltimore and Virginia, I am thrilled we got the opportunity to kickoff the Icarian Supreme Convention Year in such an overwhelming fashion. We expect 10,000 people joining us at the Supreme Convention. You haven’t seen anything if you have not experienced the convention dances. Tonight is a harbinger of things to come. Massive panagiria await and this was a fabulous start.”

More information on what will likely be one of the largest dances in North America on Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia is available online: https://ikariaphilly.com.

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