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Mark your calendars for June 7-9 Ya’ssoo Greek Festival

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Artemis Alex for the information in this story.)

The Ya’ssoo Greek Festival of Ann Arbor is now in its 13th year at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 3109 Scio Church Road.

The family event kicks off Friday, June 7, and continues through Sunday, June 9.

Admission is $3 on Friday and Saturday and is free until 4 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday. Always free for children 12 and under. Free admission for everyone on Sunday. 

A special lunch pickup option with onsite church parking is available on Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

Free parking/shuttle at Knox Presbyterian Church, 2065 S. Wagner Rd. ½ mile from St. Nicholas. 

After a brief shuttle ride, the sounds and aromas of Greece will draw you to the many areas of the festival, the first of which is the raffle booth.

This year’s raffle once again features a prize with a Chelsea touch. St. Nicholas parishioner, Stephen Kolokithas, custom jeweler and owner of Jewelry Set in Stone located in downtown Chelsea, has designed and donated the festival’s 2nd prize—a 14K yellow gold/argentium silver earring and pendant set designed especially for the festival. According to Kolokithas, the set “features a marriage between contemporary design and simple elegance and is inspired by Greek mythology.“ 

First prize is a trip to Greece for two.

Third prize is a Weber BBQ Grill.

New this year is a fourth prize – a $400 voucher toward a cruise or tour.

Daily bonus prizes donated by area businesses are given throughout each of the three days.

Live entertainment features the Greek band Enigma and three dance groups – The St. Nicholas Greek School Dancers comprised of the young children, the teenage Ya’ssoo Dancers, and the Terpsichore Dancers who danced as children and have now formed their own dance group. All dancers perform traditional Greek dances in costume and invite guests to join in, learn, and dance throughout the evening.

“Guests have told us that as much as they enjoy our food and atmosphere, the Greek folk dancers are the main attraction—especially the little ones,” says Artemis Alex in a press release.

“Many comment on how we continue to maintain our heritage, our ethnicity, and our culture. Several guests tell us that they attended our festival as children when we were downtown at 414 N. Main; now they are coming with their children and grandchildren. It has become a family tradition and a popular community event, says Alex.

The Kouzina features Entrees and A la Carte options including vegan and vegetarian meals.  The Mezedes booth is the place to go for Seasoned Greek Fries, Flaming Saganaki and Greek Sausage, and Spinach/Cheese pies. Refreshments including soft drinks, ouzo, beer, and wine can be purchased at the nearby Taverna, with Greek Frappe and coffee at the Kafeneio.

While visiting the Kafeneio, you can choose from a wide selection of homemade desserts to top off your meal.  Our special St. Nick’s Mix features a variety of pastries. The Greek desserts have made many put away their diet “just until the festival is over.”

Shopping at the Greek marketplace, the Agora, includes Greek art and handmade jewelry in addition to tee shirts, clothing, food items, and gifts.  New this year are Fishermen’s Hats.  The adjacent Bookstore features ceramic items, greeting cards, cookbooks, bookmarks, icons, religious books, and more.

Guided tours of the church are continuous throughout the event and feature the recently completed second phase of iconography. 

St. Nicholas supports various charitable groups through festival proceeds each year.  This year a percentage of the proceeds will benefit “Ele’s Place of Ann Arbor.”

The Ya’ssoo Greek Festival is a family event and is a great way to start the summer.  “By sharing our food, art, music, and traditions, we hope to spread a love and appreciation of the great diversity of cultures represented by the greater Ann Arbor area,” according to Teresa Stokes, 2019 Festival Chair.

For a schedule of events and additional information, visit www.annarborgreekfestival.org.

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