‘Athens Grease Festival’ To Be Held in the US in September

Organizers in a northern city of Alabama are planning a festival to celebrate the fried food of Greece’s capital. A downtown revitalization group in Athens is planning the inaugural “Athens Grease Festival” for September 29, 2012.

“We’re having so much fun with it and it’s going to be a fun event to work on,” said Trisha Black, Spirit of Athens director. “We wanted to have the fried food, but also celebrate the Greek origin of our name,” Black said. The end result could be a downtown Square full of vendors selling everything from fried Twinkies and Oreos to gyros and yogurt. Black said other ideas have included staging opening ceremonies and the crowning of a Caesar Augustus. It may also give residents a chance to wear a toga in public.

Black said the festival would act as a fundraiser for SOA, which also assists with Art on the Square, Cars on the Square and holiday events. She added vendor spaces would be rented out, and live music may also be staged.

The next step, she said, will be to form a committee to work on the festival, but Black also wants plenty of public input. Those who want to offer up ideas are encouraged to post those to the SOA’s Facebook page. She said a website containing information about the festival is also in the works.

Alabama has one of the worst obesity rates in the US. Statistics from 2010 show that more than one-third of the state’s 4.9 million residents are considered obese, and fried foods often share part of the blame. But organizers are hoping the festival brings out families. Mayor Ronnie Marks says he’s excited about the possibility since the event could lure visitors from across the region.