While the annual Greek Food Festival is probably best known for its salivating multi-cultural food offerings, there are some must-see entertainment acts that festivalgoers need to check out this weekend.
William Hronas, who serves as the Entertainment Chairman for the Greek Food Festival, said much of the entertainment the community will be able to see are dances that are rooted in ancient traditions, some dating as far back as Ancient Olympia.
“It connects us back,” Hronas says, “not just to our ethnic roots, but it helps us promote our community to the greater Little Rock and Arkansas community.”
Festivalgoers can expect to see dances from many other cultures, not just those rooted in Greek tradition. In addition to Greek-American dances, other cultures will be represented such as Irish, Middle Eastern, Russian and Indian.
“To be able to do dances that are from Greece, where my family is from and then to see the Irish dance where my Irish side of family is from, it really means a lot. Not just to me, but [also] to be able to share that with the community, it really is just like that final stamp of approval. We can share our faith, our culture to everyone,” Hronas said.
All of the performers are from Arkansas, many of which are based in central Arkansas. Two of the performing groups are local church groups, the Greek-American Folk Dance Society and the Dabkeh Middle Eastern Dancers.
“Those are all children, young adults, and adults from the parish who give up their time starting in January. We start to learn dances that go back three, four and five hundred years,” Hronas said.
From January to late March or early April, the church-based performance groups practice about once each week. Once April rolls around, Hronas said, they increase to about two performances each week. Finally, during the week of the festival, the groups are practicing every day.
The performers have mixed emotions right now, some feelings of excitement and some of nervousness, Hronas said.
“I know Friday morning we’re going to be out here doing some TV spots, so they’re kind of feeling that pressure. I tell them to just have fun with it. You’re going to be doing this for a while, [and to] just go with it,” Hronas said.
In addition to the groups from the parish, highlighting the performances will be the I CAN! Dancers and KinderSongs.
The I CAN! Dancers are lead by Julie Mayberry and feature performers who showcase that a disability doesn’t have to slow you down from doing anything.
KinderSongs, lead by Brian and Terri Kinder, provide some great children’s songs, perfect for all the families who attend the Greek Food Festival.
“Brian and Terri sing wonderful kids songs that the kids enjoy. The kids get up, clap, they’re very active, it’s a really good thing,” Hronas said.
Another great option to experience at the festival is to take a tour of church, lead by Father Nicholas Verdaris. Father Verdaris will be giving tours each day of the festival.
A complete list of the entertainment taking place at the Greek Food Festival is available on the festival’s website, http://www.greekfoodfest.com