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In the past, Stars Over Athens Festival had Greek dancers perform for the audience. The festival will be cancelled for 2019.

DECATUR — Organizers of the Stars Over Athens Festival and bake sale said the popularity of the annual Greek Orthodox Church event outweighed the number of volunteers, leading to its cancellation this year. 

“The issue is the amount of people to serve,” said co-chair Amy Chiligiris. “Four hundred in a night is difficult to serve.”

This year would have marked 58 years the church had hosted the event, which included a full Greek dinner, music and dancing.

Chiligiris said the church may host a future Greek event.

“If an opportunity to contribute to community events comes up, we’ll do so,” she said. “It will be on a smaller scale. Probably no dancing or a show.”

In the past, the Stars Over Athens Festival included two dinner time options during the middle of Bright Week, the seven days beginning Easter Sunday to the following Saturday. 

The festival had traditional Greek foods and entertainment. Dinner options included pasticho, baklava and a sampler platter of Greek foods. Early in the day, members of the church sold Greek food during their lunch and bake sale.

Preparation for the festival and bake sale started early in the year. Bakers and chefs began baking and planning the menu during the winter. 

With the amount of preparation, the church feels they are not able to go forward with the event.

“But we want to express our thanks and support from the community,” Chiligiris said.

For possible future festivals, organizers of the Stars over Athens Festival have been studying events presented by other Greek Orthodox Churches in their hemisphere, which includes Chicago and areas of Illinois.

“We are looking at what others do to bring the culture to the community,” Chiligiris said. “Since Greek people like to make sure everybody’s happy and fed.”

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Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR

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"Together Decatur" Columnist and Food and Drink Reporter

“Together Decatur” columnist and food and drink reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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