Plates will smash, honey puffs will be devoured and the bouzouki will be plucked as Brisbane celebrates all things Greek this weekend at the Paniyiri Greek Festival. This year the festival will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Hellenic Dancers, and pay tribute to the colour, culture and characters that make up the city’s Greek community.
- This year, while the flavours of haloumi (haloumi) and loukoumathes (honey puffs) headline the food trail of Brisbane’s most loved cultural celebration, an all-new experience has been unveiled in an authentic Greek village – The Plateia!
- The Paniyiri Main Stage in Musgrave Park will host over 20 hours of entertainment including the return of Greek Dancing with the Stars featuring special celebrity guests and judges, the famous ZORBA-Til-You-Drop, Grape Stomping, Olive and Honey Puff Eating Competitions, Spaghetti eating, plate smashing, Hellenic Dancing, and the return of the great Greek characters, Herc & Xena. Famous Greek dances, the Zorba, Sirto, Kalamatiano and Sousta, will be performed to music played on traditional Greek instruments including the bouzouki, tarabuka, lira and laouto.
- The Hellenic Dancers will showcase a celebratory line-up of performances incorporating dancers from across the last 40 years – including over 100 past and present Hellenic Dancers in a special performance on the Main Stage on Saturday 20 May at 6:40pm.
- On Musgrave Park, more than 30 food stalls will showcase the tastes, recipes and secrets of food from all corners of Greece.
- Australia’s best Bouzouki player in Nick Paras and his Greek drumming brother, Mike Paras, will star over both days this year with their band NIX Live. Freelance Greek singer, Paraskevi Kontoleon who has performed alongside Glykeria and had the opportunity to support international Greek singers including Kostas Karafotis, Tassos Bougas, Aggelos and Stelios Dionysiou will perform as part of the entertainment line-up. Dance groups taking part include the Paniyiri Hellenic Dancers, Canberra Hellenic Dancers, the Greek School and more. The official Paniyiri After Party TRELLA will star DJ Kossi, DJ Nicky Zee, DJ Jordee Gee (all local).
- There will be readings and talks on famous Greek author, Nikos Kazantzakis, a display of authentic Cretan musical instruments, and a traditional Cretan costume display within The Greek Club.
- Cultural films will be screened right next door and the Greek Orthodox Church of St George will conduct three short 20-minute concerts on Sunday 21 May at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm by the St John Damascus Community Choir of St George.
- The Kids’ Zone will host a special appearance from the Minions from Despicable Me 3 on Saturday 20 May at 2:40pm, 3:20pm, and 4pm, and Juanita from Cheeky Monkey Club on Saturday 21 at 2pm and 3pm and Sunday 21 at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm.
- One of the most famous parts of Paniyiri is the food – since it began, Paniyiri has served up more than five million Honey Puffs; rivers of thick sweet coffees; almost 25 tonnes of Haloumi; over four million souvlaki and countless calamari and dolmades (over 600,000)!
- This year festival goers are expected to down some 300,000 Honey Puffs, more than 100,000 Souvlakia, almost 12,000 Dolmades, 20,000 coffees, 1,600 kilograms of grilled Haloumi, 10,000 Shiftalies (Greek Cypriot sausage),
- 1,000 kilograms of calamari and another 1,000 kilograms of baby octopus!
- The 40th Anniversary Paniyiri Cookbook has been reissued featuring over 40 pages of much loved traditional recipes as well as modern twist flavours, headlined with recipes from the celebrated Paniyiri Cooking Program and the Greek Orthodox Southside Parish Ladies Auxiliary Cookbook. Some of Brisbane leading chefs have supported the Anniversary Cookbook including Matt Wood from Stokehouse Q, Alastair McLeod from Al’FreshCo, Brisbane’s first lady of cakes in Jocelyn Hancock from Cake & Bake, Chris Mann from Pony Dining at Eagle Street Pier, the crew from PawPaw Café, as well as Zeus Street Greek, The Coffee Club and The Greek Club. The Anniversary Cookbook is free and downloadable from paniyiri.com.