BOSTON, MA – Thousands from the greater Boston area attended the Greek Festival of the Annunciation Cathedral of Boston September 14-16, held on the grounds of its community center in Brookline Massachusetts.
Great summery weather and successful advertising contributed to the high turnout. The Festival’s organizing force was Mary Clearly, Founder and CEO of the employment agency Cleary Consultants.
She told The National Herald that the Festival is doing well and gets better every year. “You have to be creative, you have to think outside the box. You have to do things that other festivals are not doing. This is the mother church (of the area), the most important church. Everything started with the Cathedral. This is the center, so let us make it special. The tavern makes you think and feel you are in Greece. Our theme is: if you can’t go to Greece this year, come to the Festival and go to the tavern, and you’ll experience Greece here.”
A congregant identified just as “Mary” told TNH she grew up in the parish and attended Sunday school there. “I was blessed to have good parents; this church was their church.” She explained that the parish consists of about 300 families. There were more, “but we have more churches now. They drifted away, but when we have events, they support us.” She noted that the Festival is the Cathedral’s biggest fundraiser.
Eleni Demeter of the Festival’s Welcoming Committee spoke about the “beautiful pastries and gorgeous items.” A fourth-generation parishioner, Demeter’s grandmother established roots there in 1923. “I have two daughters and granddaughters who love the church,” she said.
Cathedral Dean Fr. Demetrios Tonias said “the festival brings the community together and becomes a tradition. That is why it is important to have it the same days every year, because they know and plan for it ahead of time.” He also spoke well about the tavern, and mentioned new menu items, such as grilled shrimp.
Fr. Demetrios Tonias with Presbytera Marian and their children Kathryn, Josephine, and Elias and Jack Bosso, a student at Holy Cross School of Theology. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)
Fotini Andreadis, originally from New York, now a Massachusetts transplant because she “married a Bostonian,” has been a parishioner since 1982 and described the Festival as “magnificent.”
Teenager Thalia Mamoudis, who helped serve the pastries, explained to TNH they are homemade. Her mother is in the Philoptochos. She aspires to follow in her father’s professional footsteps; he is a dentist. Speaking Greek fluently, she said she learned it from her parents and the Cathedral’s Greek School.
Others shared their thoughts with TNH as well, such as Annette Kasselis, who said Nescafe is always a popular item, and Eleni Caras, who added that “the festival is organized well and the people work very, very hard,” calling organizer Cleary “dynamite.”
The Greek Kafeneio workers: Joni Stamatos, Eleni Caras, Annett Kasselis, and Kay Giannakakis. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)