Greek Culture will be celebrated at the annual St. Sophia Cathedral Greek Festival.
By Rodolfo Roman
Special to The Miami Herald
Evangeline Scurtis’ parents came all the way from Greece to start a Miami tradition.
Now, more than 30 years after her parents started the annual St. Sophia Greek Festival, Scurtis gets emotional this time each year.
“I cry every festival,” said Scurtis, 64.
The annual festival will be celebrated Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the St. Sophia Cathedral in The Roads.
The festival was started by Toula Mekras, who was the wife of former priest Demosthenes Mekras, some 30 years ago as a celebration of culture and a fundraiser for the church.
For South Floridians, the three day affair has become a fixture, said Nick Kallergis, President of the St. Sophia Parish Council.
“It is very exciting and people look forward to it — they put in on their calendars because we always hold it the weekend after Presidents Day,” he wrote in an e-mail. “They love our food, and are drawn to the music and dancing.”
For entertainment, there will be a live Greek band throughout the weekend. There will also be a disc jockey spinning the latest in contemporary music and dance. Vendors will be selling Greek merchandise like jewelry and music. Children will be able to enjoy rides and the cathedral will be opened for tours.
Those who are from Greece will relive the spirit of their country, said Kallergis.
“For Greek families it allows us to pass on our culture and religion, teach our children about our heritage, and religion, bring the whole family together and share our best with our greater community,” Kallergis wrote.
A full bar will feature Greek and domestic beers, liquors and wines. Ouzo, a Greek liqueur flavored with anise, will be available.
Food lovers will be able to feast on traditional foods like Greek gyros, Moussaka, roasted lamb, and souvlaki sandwiches. To satisfy the sweet tooth, there will be Greek pastries and a desert booth that will have baklava, kourambiedes, kadaifi, and galaktobouriko.
Visitors will enjoy more than just entertainment, said Kallergis.
“Our festival is a huge Greek party that celebrates our heritage and culture, but like everything else that the Greeks have brought to civilization, the joy of the celebration is universal,” he wrote. ”As Miami’s population diversifies even more we see that in growth and change in our attendance. Infectious music, great food and a celebration of life attract everyone.”
In the past, Scurtis’ children and nephews have participated.
“It is something that is important and that my family worked hard for,” she said.