Tarpon’s Vast Greek Community’s Pre-Panagias Celebration

TARPON SPRINGS, FL – On August 13, two days before the Feast of Panagias (Assumption of the Virgin Mary), the sprawling Greek community of Tarpon Springs, FL, the city with the highest Greek population per capita in the United States, celebrated at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church’s Fr. Tryfon Hall, named in honor of the late priest who served the community for many decades.

Due to threat of a rainstorm on August 6, the Night in the Islands event for that evening was postponed. There was concern that if scheduled for the 13th, a large number of attendees would have to choose between the two. But, instead, it was rescheduled to the 20th, and so there would be no conflict.

The Panagias celebration event was organized by the Prometheus Pan-Hellenic Cultural Center, whose president, Effie Vasiliou, served as emcee.
The Pan-Macedonian Association honored Chris Alahouzos, making him an honorary member, the distinction formalized in a plaque presented to him by the Association’s Eastern States Governor John Hantzios.

Tarpon Panagias 2

Virtually the entire town kept the honor a secret from Alahouzos, in order to surprise him. When we asked him early in the evening, before the presentation of the plaque was made, what would be going on, he said “I’m not exactly sure.” But he had an inkling something was abrew when earlier in the evening he attended another event and received phonecalls to ensure that he would indeed go to the Prometheus event too.

“I asked for your support,” to elect him mayor on March 15 “and I thank you for it,” Alahouzos said, “but now I’m going to ask for another favor: for your support of Dora Komninos, who is running for Pinellas County Court Judge in Florida.” At that point, Alahouzos called Komninos to the stage, who thanked the community for their support.

The attendees ate, drank, and danced nonstop, with music provided by the popular local Greek band Ellada. The talented musicians’ endless assortment of songs, the delicious lamb with potatoes (and shrimp with rice for those fasting for Dekapentavgousto), and offerings of ouzo, Metaxa, and Alfa beer made the entire evening – fittingly and not surprisingly – a truly authentic Greek experience.


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