A celebration of Greek life took place from January 12-13 at the Delphi Bank Semaphore Greek Festival of South Australia. Tens of thousands of people set a new attendance record for the two-day festival at Semaphore Beach, which celebrates everything Greek — from culture and heritage to food, music and dancing.
The Delphi Bank Semaphore Greek Festival is considered one of the most important Greek festivals in Australia — and this year, it set new records in many areas.
This is the 40th anniversary of the festival. Approximately 35,000 people, the highest number ever, both Greeks and non-Greeks alike from all over South Australia, attended the Greek Fest in person.
Over 400,000 people connected with the event on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, with the hashtag #thankyou at the center of the extensive online campaign. This was the most successful digital marketing campaign ever for the event.
The local Greek radio station, Radio ENA, also broadcast the event live for those who could not attend so that they could still enjoy the festivities.
John Douvartzidis, President of the Greek Orthodox Community and Parish of Port Adelaide and Environs (PAGOC), spoke about the event and about the importance of coming together to celebrate “our community with the soul of our festival, our volunteers.”
Traditional Greek folk dances were performed by Port Adelaide Greek Dance Academy in front of thousands of onlookers, cheering and clapping along to the rhythmic music. Local Greek band “Zeus” and Greek Sydney-based singer Hara Dimitriou also lent their talents to the festival.
The annual event is organized by the Greek Orthodox Community of the Nativity of Christ Port Adelaide & Environs along with the help of over 325 volunteers, spanning generations of proud Greeks-Australians. Volunteers aged 12 to 85 all donated countless hours of their time cooking traditional Greek food to serve to the guests at the Festival.
And it paid off. This year’s festival also set a new record for the most loukoumathes being devoured – 40,000 to be exact!
Many prominent community figures attended the festival on its opening night, Saturday, including the Governor of South Australia, the Honourable Hieu Van Le; the Premier of South Australia Steven Marshall; and His Grace Bishop Nikandros of Dorileon.
Consul General of Greece in South Australia Georgios Psiahas attended as well, along with Con Dalas, the Chairperson of the Inter-Communities Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in South Australia.
Ever since the first Greeks migrated from their native land to Australia in 1829 they have built their community around their culture and traditions, while contributing to Australian society.
The legend of the first Greeks to land on the continent goes something like this. A group of seven Greek sailors was given a sentence of transportation, for the crime of piracy, by a British naval court. Upon their arrival in New South Wales the sailors were pardoned, but two of them were so taken by the beauty of the land that they decided to stay and settle in Australia.
Although they could never have known it at the time, they would soon be joined by many sailors from their homeland. They brought with them from Greece their hopes, their dreams — and their culture — to share with Australia. And the rest, as they say, is history.