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Mark Your Calendars: Ya’ssoo Greek Festival of Ann Arbor June 7

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

The Ya’ssoo Greek Festival of Ann Arbor is an annual family event that kicks off Friday, June 7, at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 3109 Scio Church Road, Ann Arbor, and continues through Sunday, June 9.

Admission is $5 after 4 p.m. on Friday and $5 throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. Children 12 and under are always free.

Free parking/shuttle is at Knox Presbyterian Church, 2065 S. Wagner Rd., 1/2 mile from St. Nicholas. 

After a brief shuttle ride, the sounds and aromas of Greece will draw guests 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 thanks to St. Nicholas parishioner, Stephen Kolokithas, custom jeweler and owner of Jewelry Set in Stone located in downtown Chelsea.  He has designed and donated the festival’s 2nd prize—a 14K yellow gold/argentium silver topaz, and diamond earring and pendant set designed especially for the festival each year. 

First prize is a trip to Greece for two. Third prize is a gold pendant from Lewis Jewelers, and fourth prize is a Gozney Roccbox Propane Gas Outdoor Pizza Oven. Bonus prizes donated by area businesses are announced to lucky winners throughout each day.

Live entertainment features the Greek band Enigma and two dance groups— the teenage Leventia Dancers, and The St. Nicholas Greek School Dancers comprised of the young children.  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.  Many guests comment on how impressed they are that 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 since the 70’s.  This year we are Going Green,” said Artemis Alex, the festival’s marketing directo, in a press release. 

The Kouzina features Entrees and A la Carte options.  Refreshments including soft drinks, ouzo, beer, and wine that can be purchased at the nearby Taverna, with Greek Frappe and coffee at the Kafeneio. Also, the “Opa!” booth features the well-known Saganaki—flaming cheese. 

While visiting the Kafeneio, guests 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.”

Shop at the Greek marketplace and visit the Bookstore that is housed inside the church as you enter and 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 Iconography. 

St. Nicholas supports various charitable groups through festival proceeds each year. This year a percentage of the proceeds will benefit “The Robert J. Delonis Center” in Ann Arbor.

The Ya’ssoo Greek Festival 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.

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

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