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Article Archive/September 2011

Updated September 02, 2011

The Annual Yiasou Greek Festival
Charlotte, NC

By Jay Whipple/Trend Magazine Online™, and
Click to Enlarge Greek Festival Pic!The Yiasou Greek Festival

I have been driving by this festival -- since the 16th Annual event in 2003 -- while conducting my QCT Charlotte Daily City Tour by Queen City Tours and Travel. Although I have not officially been inside the gate, I have experienced the folks and fun while driving along East Boulevard on our tour route. Parking near this festival is scarce towards the end on Saturday and Sunday. The festival has grown geometrically in numbers since its inception in 1978 to more than 30,000 visitors per year. Ironically, you will run across good food, folks, and fun at the Annual Yiasou (Hello) Greek Festival in Charlotte, but do not expect to run into too many Greeks.

Voted Best International Festival and continuing the tradition that is now in its 34th year, we welcome you to Charlotte’s annual Yiasou Greek Festival! With the hospitable nature that Greeks are known for, it is with great pleasure and excitement that we invite you to experience our Greek culture September 8th through 11th (Or 2nd weekend in September) on the grounds of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

This spectacular four day Greek Festival will take place at 600 East Boulevard and is a wonderful family event that each year draws more than 30,000 visitors from around the greater Charlotte area. Guests of the festival can plan to enjoy mouthwatering Greek cuisines, tours of the Cathedral, a chance to win a Trip for 2 to Greece, live music with traditional Greek dancing by the youth of our community and much more.

To kick off the start of the festival, make plans to register for the Yiasou Greek Festival 5K that will take place Saturday, August 27, 2011. For further details of this event, visit

Click to Enlarge Greek Festival Pic!Details of the 2011 Yiasou Greek Festival
Cathedral Tours:

The heart of our Festival is the Cathedral itself. The Cathedral serves as the center foundation of our religious community. Built in 1954, our cathedral consists of beautiful iconography and Byzantine architecture.
*Tours and lectures on the history of our church are given every hour on the hour.

To learn more about the Greek culture and Orthodox faith, visit the Hosanna Bookstore and the Greek cultural exhibits. Here you will learn about Greek art, the Greek language, the traditions and rituals of the Greek people. “The Yiasou Festival provides the opportunity and the means for us to share our rich tradition as Greek-Americans with friends and those who come to honor us and participate in the Festival. We talk about
our faith and Church, offer homemade foods and pastries, play our music and perform our dances, as well as display and present our culture and heritage. The many vendors on the grounds are there to help everyone get souvenirs and items for all ages. I thoroughly enjoy myself with this amazing celebration of Ethnic Tradition. The Yiasou Festival affords a way for our hardworking people to share our traditions with a welcoming smile to our honored visitors,”
Adds Rev. Fr. Michael Varvarelis, Dean and Cathedral Priest

Greek Lectures:
Greek History

We are pleased to announce a variety of lectures that will take place this year. We welcome Professors Krentz, Cheshire and Toumazou all from the department of classics at Davidson College and are also pleased to have our very own Greek School Principle, Larry Peroulas on schedule as well. Plan to attend these 20 minute daily lectures beginning Thursday evening. A variety of classical Greek cultural topics include: “Classics in the Cinema: Troy (2004)", "Sophocles and the Wild West", “The Battle of Marathon,” “The Battle of Chaironeia”, "Report from the Field: Cyprus" and “The Greek Language.”

Mount Athos-

Rev. Fr. Michael Varvarelis and Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral will be presenting a series of lectures on what is known today as the “Holy Mountain,” the history of Mount Athos. Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. Mount Athos is the center of Eastern Christian Orthodox Monasticism. It is home to 20 Orthodox Monasteries where only monks are allowed to reside.

*Pick up a festival guide at entrance of festival for specific lecture times and location.

Greek Cultural Exhibit-

The Yiasou Greek Festival features one of the largest collections of reproductive ancient Greek artifacts in the south. The collection consists of bronze statues, frescos, busts, vases, models of Greek temples and a museum quality replica of an ancient Greek war ship. Also included in the collection are ancient Greek, Greco-Roman, and ancient Egyptian statues, wall reliefs, swords, spearheads, vases, marble stones, daggers, coins, and videos of ancient Greece.
*All culture exhibits will be located on the lower level of Holy Trinity’s Hellenic Center.

Changing of the Guards-

The Changing of the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a popular tourist attraction that still takes place daily at the Parliament Building in Syntagma Square in Athens today. Come be a part of the crowd and witness the reenactment of these carefully selected presidential guards known as Evzones. Their performance is a display of uniquely synchronized movements as well as motionless stances. Evzones dress in traditional costumes that stem from different eras in Greek history. Their white flared sleeved shirts accompany a wool studded vest and pleated kilt or fustanella topped with pom-pom decorated footwear. This performance is both eye catching and sure to draw the attention of crowds of spectators.
*See festival guide for specific times and locations.

Authentic Greek Cuisine-

Come with a big appetite and leave the cooking to us! We have put our heart, soul and favorite Greek seasonings into our many delicious foods prepared just for you. From entrées including: Roasted Lamb, Baked Chicken, Grecian style pizza, Dolmades (grape leaves wrapped around ground beef and rice), Moussaka (layers of eggplant, ground beef and topped with a cream sauce), Spanakopita (layers of phyllo stuffed with spinach and cheese) Gyros and Souvlaki sandwiches and more, we have something to satisfy any appetite.

With desert on your mind, consider our very famous baklava sundae and the always popular dessert selections including Baklava (layers of nuts and phyllo soaked in honey), Kourambiethes (oval-shaped butter cookies covered with powdered sugar), Loukomades (fried dough balls covered with honey and chopped nuts) and much much more! Plan to taste some of Greece’s finest wines at the wine tasting booth and enjoy a cold Greek “Frappe” coffee. After all, this is your pass to a Grecian feast!

Outdoor Drive-Thru Booth-

Don’t have time to dine-in, Drive-up and choose from our selection of combination dinner plates, gyro and souvlaki sandwiches, and assorted pastries. This drive-thru is located on the corner of Winthrop Avenue and E. Worthington Avenue. If you’re thinking of going through our drive-thru line, print out a menu form from our website. This will help make your drive-thru experience run more efficiently.

Open-Air Market/Greek Grocery Store-

Shop the outdoor market in the tradition of our ancient Greek families at the base of the Acropolis called the “Agora”. Visit the Bakaliko (Greek grocery store) and purchase Kalamata olives, olive oil and fine cheeses.

Live Music and Dancing-

This year we are very happy to welcome back to our musical stage the wonderful singing group "The Fabulous Grecian Keys" from Ohio. These super talented Greek musicians and singers are traveling the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean Islands exciting audiences and we are so very pleased to present them to you.
Holy Trinity’s very own youth, ranging from Kindergarten to High School will perform traditional village dances in their colorful traditional Greek costumes on one indoor stage and two outdoor stages.
*See festival guide for dance times and stage locations.

Choral Performance-

Holy Trinity’s Cathedral Choir presents ―Hymns of the Greek Orthodox Church, a program featuring the rich heritage of ancient and modern musical styles of the Greek Orthodox Church.
*One performance only on Saturday, September 10, at 5:30 p.m. in the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Gift Shops-

There will be a variety of gift shops both inside and outside during the festival. Browse the many beautiful shops offering gold jewelry, costume jewelry, cookbooks, imported clothing, t-shirts, hats, aprons, tote bags, religious items, novelties and Greek Festival souvenirs.

Children’s Play Land-

Complete with rides, inflatables, face painting and more. Don’t forget to get some hot popcorn and cotton candy, which supports the Holy Trinity Preschool programs!

Win a Trip for 2 to Greece-

Win a Trip to Greece Raffle- Yiasou Festival visitors can take a chance at winning two-round trip tickets from Charlotte to Athens, Greece, compliments of Showmars Restaurant. Raffle tickets are $2 each, $5 for three and $10 for 10.

General Information:

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral- 600 East Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28203. Map it!

Festival Hours:

Thursday, September 8th, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, September 9th and 10th, 11:00am to 10:00pm, Sunday, September 11th, 12:00 p.m. to 8:00pm

Festival admission is $2.00. Children 12 and under are admitted free, accompanied by a parent or guardian. Admission is also free if you take the Lynx or Cats to the festival and show your ticket at the door. For further information regarding food menus, festival parking, festival hours, map keys, and more, please log onto our website at or call (704) 334-4772 and share the excitement with other neighbors and friends. We hope your visit to the Yiasou Greek Festival is fun, festive and full of Greek cheer!
*Festival guides will be available at entrance of festival.

For any additional questions, please contact:
Rodanthe Koufaliotis (704) 517-2241.

Click to Enlarge Queen Charlotte Photo

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