TARPON SPRINGS — A sea of blue and white will take over Tarpon Springs this Sunday as the city celebrates the 193rd Greek Independence Day. The parade is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Lemon Street and will turn north on Pinellas Avenue before heading west on Dodecanese Boulevard and ending at the Sponge Docks. A number of local and regional dignitaries will address the crowd from a stage set up at the Sponge Docks immediately following the parade. Entertainment includes live music and dance routines as the celebration continues throughout the afternoon.
The official recognition of Greece’s independence from the Ottoman Empire is on Monday, March 25. That date commemorates the War of Greek Independence in 1821, eventually resulting in the establishment of an independent kingdom of Greece. Prior to Sunday’s parade, residents can attend Saturday’s program of the American Foundation for Greek Language and Culture at St. Petersburg College Tarpon Springs Campus. The program, to be held from 9:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., will focus on the 193rd anniversary of Greek independence. A collection of professors, scholars and artists will each give 15-minute presentations. The city’s Center for Gulf Coast Folklife is participating in the event. Tina Bucuvalas, the city’s curator of arts and historical resources, will present “Songs of the Greek Struggle for Independence: Kleftika and Rizitika.” “There are songs associated with the fight for Greek independence,” she said. “I’ll discuss them and then local musicians who know these songs are going to take over and sing several examples of them.” Other 15-minute programs include a chronology of the War of Greek Independence, Greece’s transition from a monarchy to democracy and a performance by the Hellas Dancers of Clearwater. The entire Saturday event takes place in Lyceum Room 156 at the SPC Tarpon Springs Campus, 600 Klosterman Road. The AFGLC will present a lecture next week at the Spanos-Pappas Community Center at 348 N. Pinellas Ave. The 2014 Dr. Demetrios Halkias Annual Lecture on Faith and Stewardship will present “Hellenes and Hellenism in Southeast Asia” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28. Established in 2008, the lecture will be presented this year by His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas of Dardanellia, a Tarpon Springs native. According to the AFGLC website, the lectureship “seeks to juxtapose the values of faith and Hellenism with the moral, spiritual, cultural and financial support of these values throughout the community.”