The Greek Community of Metropolitan Detroit will celebrate the annual Greek Independence Day on Sunday, March 25, 2012, with a parade in downtown Detroit. The parade will start at 3:00 p.m. and will proceed on Monroe Street from Woodward Avenue to the heart of Detroit’s Historic Greektown. The parade will be led by Metropolitan Nicholas of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit, Metropolitan Ambrosios of Kalavryta and Aigialeia, Greece, George Reganis, the Detroit Greek Parade President and the 2012 Hellenic Heritage Award Recipients. “The community awaits this parade with great anticipation and excitement. It is a demonstration of the legacy of Hellenism and the preservation of Greek culture”, said Metropolitan Nicholas. Dignitaries including representatives of local, state and federal government will also join these officials.
Prior to the parade, a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation will take place at 10:00 am at the Annunciation Cathedral, 707 East Lafayette Blvd. in Greektown.
The weekend festivities begin on Friday, March 23, 2012, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., with a preview of the Hellenic Museum of Michigan (www.hellenicmi.org) which is scheduled to open officially later this year in the Cultural Center at 67 E. Kirby, Detroit, across from The Detroit Institute of Arts (The DIA). The famous Horeftikos Omilos Agiou from Peloponessus, Greece will be performing. Tours of this historic former Children’s Museum of Detroit will also be available. The Museum will preserve the heritage and the legacy of extraordinary Greek Americans who immigrated to Michigan and present Hellenic history, culture, art and traditions to the community.
On Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. the 5th Annual Hellenic Heritage Awards Dinner, presented by the Detroit Greek Independence Day Committee will take place at the Royalty House in Warren, MI. The Hellenic Heritage Awards recognize those individuals who are contributing members of the community and have achieved exemplary distinction in laying the foundation of their faith and culture as they immigrated and assimilated into our society. This year’s honorees will be announced closer to the parade date. Proceeds from Saturday’s dinner event will go towards the support of the Hellenic Museum for future programs and current renovations.
Highlight of the weekend will be the visiting leaders from the Agion region of Greece. Participating and marching in the parade will be the famous dance group, Horeftikos Omilos Agiou from Peloponessus, Greece. Also participating in the parade will be over 40 marching units representing Greek Orthodox churches, cultural organizations, dance groups in colorful ethnic dress, and area college student organizations from metropolitan Detroit and nearby communities including Windsor, Toledo, Flint, Saginaw, Ann Arbor and Lansing. Numerous floats will be included in the parade and historic autos from the Ford Piquette Plant Museum will be provided.
After the parade, a short program will be held near the end of the parade route. Rich Mayk, Detroit’s well-known communicator, will officiate as the master of ceremonies at both the dinner event and parade. The American, Greek and Canadian national anthems will be sung symbolizing the strong unity of the three countries. Metropolitan Nicholas will offer prayers and remarks on Greek Independence Day. State Senator John Papageorge will present a State of Michigan proclamation signed by Governor Rick Snyder and all Greek-American members of the Michigan Legislature honoring Greek Independence Day. Area college leaders will represent their Greek studies departments.
Dance groups performing a variety of Greek dances over the two-day celebration will represent the various regions of Greece. Performing will be: Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, Grand Blanc, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, St. Clair Shores, Aristotle Hellenic Academy, Holy Cross Church, Farmington Hills, Hellenic Dance Company, Holy Trinity Church, Toledo, Hellenic Society For the Performing Arts, Kyklos Hellenic Society Dancers, Nativity of the Virgin Mary, Plymouth, Nisiotes Dancers, Omega Dancers, St. Nicholas Church, Troy, Pseloretes Cretan Dancers of Detroit, REVMA Dancers, St. Nicholas Church, Ann Arbor, Terpsichore Dancers, Windsor, ONT and the Yassoo Dancers.
Greek musical ensembles will perform the melodic music of Greece and the Greektown Merchants and restaurants look forward to hosting the many visitors expected to attend the celebration. The Detroit Greek Independence Day Parade was revived in 2001, after an absence of over 30 years. It is managed by the Detroit Greek Independence Day Committee which is a non-profit corporation. Committee members work year long in preparation for the parade and represent Hellenic organizations and churches throughout this region.
For the second year in a row, our friends at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum (www.tplex.org), we will have a few vintage Model T’s join our parade procession. There will be two Model T cars and one Model T pick-up. Each will be driving a few of this year’s parade dignitaries down Monroe Street. The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is the “Birthplace of the Model T” and is considered “One of the most significant automobile facilities of the 20th Century!” This plant is where ideas culminated in the mass production of the automobile. This building is a city, state and Federal Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark and a National Heritage site.