By Jessica Doran
As the summer came to a close, most of us were probably mourning the end of fun, sun and of course, outdoor fairs and events. But for those who were well informed, only a few days after classes began, some of the most exciting cultural street fairs were going on all over Schenectady.
The 37th annual St. George Greek Festival was held on Friday and Saturday at St. George’s church in Schenectady. The Greek Orthodox Church has been holding the event in order to raise money for the church to keep it running throughout the year. It is their biggest fundraiser. Between Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this year, the church made approximately $100,000.
Set up under a massive tent within the parking lot of the church, Greeks and non-Greeks alike gathered to celebrate Greek traditions, food and culture.As I walked in the smells of the Mediterranean made me insanely hungry. Pacing yourself is a necessity at this event. The food is unending. There is a booth outside with svoulaki, gyros, and other types of grilled meats. Continuing to the inside booths, there are even more choices of great foods, many of which I couldn’t even pronounce the name.
Once I was fully equipped with my fair share of food, I took a seat to enjoy the entertainment: Greek dance! It is one of the most interesting and fun forms of dance that I’ve had the privilege to watch. This Mediterranean dance is a combination of island and mainland Greek style dancing. It could be considered a type of folk dancing that is highly reminiscent of Greek culture. Nicole Georgelas ‘13 has been dancing for 14 years. She is a member of the Fotia Hellenic Society, a male and female Greek dance group. Every year she participates in the dancing at the Greekfest in order help her church and to participate in something she loves to do. “Every year we practice and practice for this event. I get so excited for the weekend, and when it’s over, it’s always a bittersweet feeling. Can’t wait for next year,” she exclaimed.
The Fotia Hellenic Society participates in dance performances and competitions all over the Northeast. Their elaborate performances include various dance numbers, different musical stylings and even costume changes.
There were a number of Union students and faculty present at the event this weekend. Cathy Georgelas, of the mailroom, participated by helping throughout the day with her daughter. “It’s my favorite weekend of the year,” she said.
New Professors of the Philosophy department Dr. Krisanna Scheiter and David Barnett, were also spotted enjoying the food and merriment. Union is placed in the heart of one of the most multicultural areas in the United States, which is made evident by the events this weekend, and should be taken advantage of!