Eighty years ago, some 100 Greek families founded the Assumption (Kimisis tis Theotokou) Greek Orthodox Community in Erie, Pennsylvania’s fourth biggest city. Nowadays, after so many years, the same families remain distinguished among the 300,000 citizens of the metropolitan area.
The 24th Panegyri Greek Festival, which was held by our expatriates a few days ago, amazed even its organizers attracting more than 40,000 people, among them many Greeks of other American cities, despite the heat and humidity.
The three-day festival is considered one of the city’s biggest cultural events and once again gained attention of local American media.
Newspaper Erie Times provided dedicated reports on a daily basis, reporting for example that Greeks made 60,000 pieces of traditional pastries, 15,000 of which were baklava which required more than 300 kg of walnuts and other nuts.
“Olympic Dancers” from the Metropolis of Pittsburgh, Cleveland Ohio and Buffalo performed in a really strong and impressive manner receiving unending applause.
“We are outnumbered, but Greek expatriates are one of Erie’s strongest national teams. Everyone is successful, good householders, and their children are educated and distinguished in all fields,” noted Father Theofanis Nacopoulos, who has been leading the community for the past five decades. Speaking to The National Herald, he also said that the Community has a very strong Greek Orthodox youth, three dance clubs, a Sunday church school and a Greek-speaking school.
Chief organizer Manolis Gerakis expressed his gratitude to the volunteers who worked hard to prepare and successfully hold the annual Greek festival in Erie.