Sparty Celebrates Greek Independence Day.
Hundreds of revelers paraded through Greektown to celebrate Greek Independence Day and to commemorate more than a century of Greek history in downtown Detroit.
As cheering crowds packed the narrow sidewalks on Monroe Avenue, floats and a marching band passed, along with dozens of people who marched while waving Greek flags. A group of youths dressed as Evzones, who are members of traditional Greek honor guard units, joined together in a ring and danced in the street.
“We thought we would have this parade … to show people that there is still a significant Greek community and we still have a great deal to offer this city in its continuing renaissance,” the Rev. Michael Varlamos of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in St. Clair Shores said. “It’s not just about Greek independence, it’s about freedom.”
Greektown became the first home of Greek residents in metro Detroit in the 1890s, said this year’s parade grand marshal, Steve Kalkanis. Thousands started businesses through the next few decades. Many eventually moved to the suburbs; there are about 150,000 people of Greek descent living in metro Detroit, said Kalkanis, who is the chairman of Henry Ford Hospital’s Department of Neurosurgery and the medical director of the hospital’s Center for Cancer Surgery.
The official holiday, on March 25, celebrates the start of Greece’s war for independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821.
The parade has grown since its founding 17 years ago, and with the recent surge of downtown businesses, the event has gone from a relatively short parade to a daylong family outing, Kalkanis said.
For the full article, see Daniel Bethencourt, “Hundreds fill Greektown for Independence Day march“, Detroit Free Press,