Gyroscope enthusiasts are in luck.
Expecting to serve more than 500 pounds of lamb, the Greektown Heritage Festival will return Saturday to celebrate Greek culture with music, dancing, food and drinks. With eight rotating open-air spots, the streetside lamb roast is one of the highlights of the event.
Founded in 2018, the event will return this year after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The free event, sponsored by the Greektown Neighborhood Partnership, along with the Downtown Detroit Partnership, Hollywood Casino at Greektown and Bedrock, welcomes families and attendees of all ages to Greektown.
The event will take place from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monroe Street in Detroit, located between Beaubien Street and Saint-Antoine Street.
Tasso Teftsis, vice president of the Greektown Neighborhood Partnership, is in charge of food for the event and said the lamb roast idea was inspired by villages in Greece that roast lamb during festivals.
“It’s a beautiful scene with all the lambs roasting,” Teftsis said. “My neighbors and I skewer the lambs and skewer them in the morning, then when people walk by, the lamb is already cooked. We give them a taste of the lamb and they can buy a sandwich.”
Teftsis said they plan to serve about 1,000 sandwiches. Although the bar and sandwiches will be the only refreshments served on the street, he said local restaurants are also filling up as queues for sandwiches grow longer.
To accompany the lamb roasting, there will be chairs and tables in the streets for festival-goers to enjoy their sandwiches. There will also be games for children.
“We have Greek music and live bands all day long and we have Greek dancing, they (participants) can also join in dancing,” Teftsis said. “It’s really a lot of fun. It’s a very authentic experience to be here and enjoy our culture and heritage.”
Spero Dionysopoulos co-owns Greektown’s oldest restaurant, Golden Fleece, as well as Exodus Rooftop and Bakaliko Greek Market. All three of his establishments are members of the Greektown Neighborhood Partnership, and he said he looks forward to the business the festival will bring to his restaurants.
“I’m really looking forward to everyone coming to see all the restaurants and everything my culture has to offer,” Dionysopoulos said. “We are very happy for everyone to come and experience something different and enjoy Greek culture.”
Dionysopoulos said the last Greek Heritage Festival was a great success and a fun event for all participants.
“Before the pandemic, it was the last (Greek Heritage Festival) and it was very nice,” Dionysopoulos said. “It was really busy and everyone really likes roast lamb and they also come to the restaurant and try things they may have never tried before.”
The Greektown Hollywood Casino parking lot is the most convenient parking available for the event. For those who do not wish to park in a structure, parking lots for the Annunciation Cathedral and St. Mary’s Church will also be available.
Taking place later this summer, the celebration of Greek culture and community will continue at GreekFest, inviting people from around the world to join us and be Greek for the day. Scheduled for August 18 to 21, GreekFest at the Assomption Cultural Center will offer food, cultural events, entertainment, dancing, games and many other fun activities for the whole family. The festival will take place at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in St. Clair Shores.
Kicking off the four-day celebration will be the grand opening ceremony on August 18 at 5 p.m., recognizing community leaders.
At the end of the weekend, six raffle winners will be selected: first prize is $10,000, second prize is a David Yurman bracelet, donated by Ahee Jewelers (valued at $3,500), third prize is is $500 and the fourth, fifth and sixth prizes are all $200. Raffle tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at hypothesisfestival.com or at the Assumption office.
Tom Thomas, one of the festival’s four co-chairs, said the event has been happening for many years. However, there was a hiatus and the event was revived in 2008. He said the main attractions of the event were entertainment and food. For those who want to enjoy authentic Greek cuisine without attending the festival, there is a takeaway option.
“(I’m) looking forward to finally getting back together with the community,” Thomas said. “It’s more of a community effort. It doesn’t matter if people are Greek or American, everyone comes together and has fun.”
Thomas also said there would be a market with items from around the world and there would be an opportunity to take a tour to learn about the religious history of the church.
As people from the surrounding area gather to participate in the day’s festivities, Co-Chair George Dallas invites community members of all cultures and backgrounds to come and enjoy the event.
“It’s an opportunity for people to enjoy Greek culture without going to Greece,” Dallas said. “Come be Greek for a day.”
Entrance to the festival costs $2 and is free for children under 12. Free parking and shuttle services will also be available. Proceeds collected will be donated to the IOCC Fund for Ukrainian Children and Cass Community Social Services. Additionally, festival funds will help sustain community events at the church.
Greektown Heritage Festival
12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Aegean roots
2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Hellenic Society of Performing Arts Dancers
3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Enigma
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Cretan Pseloretes of Detroit
6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. DJ Nico Blu
Assumption Greek Orthodox Church: 21800 Marter Road, St. Clair Shores
August 18, 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
August 19, 4 p.m.-11 p.m.
August 20, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
August 21, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.