UGA_Party

By Joanna Kalafatis

The United Greek Americans (UGA) Memorial weekend-long party is officially the largest Greek-American party in the United States! It started as a small gathering of Greek friends in Clearwater, Florida, and four years later the event not only brings together the youngest Greek-American crowd, but this year the organizers are also planning to give back to the community by launching a scholarship fund.

If you’re a young Greek-American and want to party Mykonos-style, book your ticket for the United Greek Americans party in Clearwater Beach, Florida. We are not kidding, you can experience Mykonos in the US! Almost one thousand Greeks from all over the US and Canada are coming to this year’s all-weekend beach party. United Greek Americans (UGA), the Hellenic-American networking group that was formed by Deano Kastis, has booked out the premier party hotel, Shephard’s Beach Resort, on Memorial Day Weekend!

But the party had humble beginnings says the event’s organizer…

“I used to work in nightlife, one evening we were having a block party where I had invited some Greek friends and somebody said, ‘Can you imagine, Deano, if all of us at this event were Greek-American?'”

Deano admitted this simple question lit the fire and he quickly geared up to make the ultimate Greek party in the US. The first UGA party in 2010 was a small “parea,” maybe 100 people at most.

Deano Kastis and George Lemonakis
[L-R] United Greek Americans (UGA) Founder Deano Kastis with his friend George Lemonakis at the 5th annual UGA party in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
“It felt great to not only let loose and have a party, but to connect Greek-Americans from all over the area and have them bond over their language and culture,” says Deano who is more excited than ever to welcome all these young Greeks in Clearwater and also be able to give back to the community!

For the first time and following the success of the event, United Greek Americans is launching a scholarship fund that is dear to Deano’s own experience.

“I was raised by a single mother and my grandparents, so I know how tough it is for kids to succeed during those stages in their lives, especially when they are trying to manage work and college, this why we established our scholarship fund.”

UGA is encouraging people to apply for the scholarship with a 2-3 page essay on how their Greek culture has impacted their life; anyone can apply as long as they are in school via the the United Greek Americans website.

However, besides giving back, Greek-Americans will be partying all over the beach and resort pool at Clearwater Beach all day long, and you don’t want to miss it. Shephard’s Beach Resort is Clearwater’s happenning resort. It’s THE party hotel, Memorial Day weekend is THE party weekend, and UGA is occupying nearly the entire hotel on that weekend – all Greeks, all weekend long!

This year, UGA is expecting close to one thousand attendees from the US, Canada, and even Greece!

“We have secured a second hotel because of the great demand this year,” says Deano who has also hosted Greek American events in Miami, California, and Illinois. After the Memorial Weekend Party in Clearwater, UGA is also planning another event for Labor Day weekend in Chicago, IL.

Shepherd's Beach resort turns Blue and white during the UGA weekend
Shephard’s Beach resort turns Blue and white during the UGA weekend

The schedule for the Memorial weekend-long party is enough to make you feel like you are clubbing on the Greek islands in August. The celebration starts Thursday night with a Sunset Welcome Party right on the beach. Also, this year teams from Canada and around the US have also signed up for an inaugural 3 on 3 basketball tournament, and the winning team wins $1000. Contact UGA (will include link) if you want to enter.

Friday night UGA hosts the official kickoff party with DJs flying in from around the US to play the best American and Greek music headlining the dance billboards today. And this party, like the rest of the weekend, runs on Greek time – it keeps going past sunrise!

Saturday night is the white party – so get decked out in your best summer whites and join. You might be selected Mr. or Mrs. UGA – the most open and outgoing people at the UGA party, as voted by the crowd – and be presented a bottle of champagne on the house.

UGA White PArty
White Party night at the UGA weekend

It doesn’t matter where you’re from or how many Greek-Americans you know. Last year Mr. UGA was from Brooklyn, New York, and Ms. UGA was from Virginia Beach, Virginia. This year, there are also people flying in from as far away as Athens and Crete, so you can get a chance to practice your Greek with some attractive men and women straight from Greece.

The weekend will finish up on Sunday with UGA’s live bouzoukia show, featuring the group “Seizmos” from Philadelphia. And of course, during the entire weekend there is a constant daytime pool party going on, so you don’t have to stop the party when the sun comes up!

Plenty of Greek-Americans that have attended the event have made lifelong connections with other Greeks, and had the best weekend of their lives as well!

“Also, Greeks that have met up at previous UGA parties found not only friends, but love. A lot of attendees from around the country ended up dating after first meeting at the UGA beach party,” admits Deano.

To be part of the largest Greek party in the US, you can purchase a package at unitedgreekamericans.com, which includes transportation from the hotel to the venues each evening, and then from the venues back to the hotel. UGA has rooms available in a hotel close to Shephard’s as well, but book soon because this party is hot. So if you want to warm up for your summer parties in Greece, meet other Greeks from all over the world, or just have a crazy Mykonos weekend right here in the US, book your tickets and head on town to the UGA beach party!

You can find out more about United Greek Americans on their official website, or connect with them on Instagram and Facebook.


  • Chris Mack

    Great endeavour, looks like the youth of today knows how to have a good time. Glendi is also a long honored Greek tradition!

    OPA!!