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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Callicoon Center Goes Greek

By Jeanne Sager - staff writer/columnist

By: Jeanne Sager | Democrat
Abby, left, and sister Emily Strong try out one of the rides set up in the Town of Callicoon Park.
CALLICOON CENTER — When Dafne Panayiotou told her husband she was going to throw a Greek Festival in Callicoon Center, he thought she was out of her mind.
But the part-time Youngsville resident remembers summers in her native Greece as a little girl, summers filled with festivals and communities coming together for food and fun.
“People all over the world want to celebrate,” she said. “Sometimes they have the means and sometimes they don't.”
A festival, she figured, would be the means.
And if she gave them the means, they would come.

Come they did. Over the three days of the event, a steady stream of foot traffic wandered down Firehouse Road in Callicoon Center to the festival to find traditional Greek foods and music, plus the Town of Callicoon Park full of rides and games for the kids.
Giving credit to members of the Town of Callicoon board and code enforcement, whom she turned to as she looked at what it would take to pull off a festival, Panayiotou said she found people were overwhelmingly welcoming of the idea of the festival both as it was getting off the ground and over the three days of the actual event.
“People said ‘Why here?'” she noted. “Why not here? If you have something good, people will come to it!”
That's what's drawn folks like her to Sullivan County.
Like a number of other second homeowners, Panayiotou attends Sunday church services at Saint Nektarios, the Greek Orthodox Monastery at the top of Anawanda Lake Road, just outside Callicoon Center. She's met many folks who have purchased homes locally because of the monastery, and she saw the festival as a way to help bring folks from the monastery and the community into one space, to let local residents know what the folks who have converted the old Huff House into a thriving monastery are all about.
But while it was a fundraiser for the monastery, it was also focused on the community as a whole.
“People deserve this in this community,” Panayiotou said, relating tales of her childhood in northern Greece, which she said had a similar landscape to the Town of Callicoon.
“We may not have a spa, but we have a Greek Festival,” she added with a laugh.

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