Brooklyn Heights

Opa! Brooklyn Greek Festival brings traditional food, music and dancing

Audience showers dancers with dollar bills

June 12, 2023 Mary Frost
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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Students danced the sirtaki and the kalamatianos, and the audience showered them with dollar bills during the annual Brooklyn Greek Festival in Brooklyn Heights, which wrapped up Sunday.

Raining money over dancers, musicians and wedding couples — a practice known as hortoura (or tipping) — is a delightful tradition in Greece.

The popular festival, which kicked off June 5, brought thousands of visitors to a car-free block of Schermerhorn Street for the party, hosted by the historic Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Brooklyn and its A. Fantis School. 

Students danced the kalamatianos amidst dollar bills thrown by the audience during the Brooklyn Greek Festival. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

The block was turned into an outdoor dining hall and dance floor, and tables were filled with families and friends enjoying the live music, traditional Greek food, dancing and kids’ activities. Party-goers got a chance to win two tickets to Greece in a paper airplane competition.

Luckily, the air quality was fine for the final blowout weekend. (For those unaware, the Air Quality Index in New York City was in the “Hazardous” to “Unhealthy” range last week due to wildfires in Canada.)

Kids have fun pretending they are the stuff of Greek legends. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

Founded in 1913, Saints Constantine and Helen is the center of Hellenism in Brooklyn, frequently visited by dignitaries from Greece, Cyprus and the U.S. The associated A. Fantis school is a small, private Greek Orthodox school which educates using the Socratic Method.

Young folks at the Brooklyn Greek Festival get inspired to try the sirtaki dance. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
Nothing beats authentic Greek food — the original Mediterranean diet. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
Families feasted on authentic Greek food and enjoyed the entertainment at the street party, which took place in Brooklyn Heights. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
This maneuver with a colorful playground parachute worked well until the kids decided they’d rather all crawl underneath it. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
Money litters the ground in front of these youngsters awaiting their turn to dance. Eagle photo by Mary Frost


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