At 38 years, Brisbane’s Paniyiri Greek Festival is still going strong. But we would hardly start calling Paniyiri middle aged, just because she’s only slightly shy of seeing her naughty 40s. Age is only just a number after all, and while she might be coming along in years, everyone from young to not-so-young remain fascinated with this effervescent personality that is both bold and brash yet warm and giving. Paniyiri continues to hold her fans captivated; with her infamous honey puffs, sloe eyed ways, guaranteed sugary baklava sweetness and gyros gifts. This is one Grecian femme fatale that knows how to smash plates, play the bouzouki, dance like Zorba and celebrate all things Hellenic.
And in 2014 especially, she is attracting a greater audience than ever before, her sleek figure expanding to accommodate the revelry only this 35+ Greek Goddess knows how to inspire. This year, you will be able to enjoy more Paniyiri, as she undulates from our local pantheon to the Ionic, The Greek Club, through to West End’s Musgrave Park and then across to South Bank. Musgrave Park will continue to pulse as the heart of this mighty Aphrodite, featuring more than 30 food stalls that showcase the tastes and recipes of Greece, from the mountains to the sea. From the main stage expect traditional Greek instruments to follow her siren call and inspire the Zorba, Sirto, Kalamatiano and Sousta.
And what a star studded backup to support this epic Grecian queen. Her entourage will certainly keep Paniyiri admirers enthralled:
Channel 7 Home & Away heartthrobs Jackson Gallagher and Tai Hara lead the pack, with My Kitchen Rules domestic goddesses, Helen and Vikki Moursellas following in their wake breaking hearts of their own. Marcia Georges, famed author of Greek By Heritage, Italian By Heart will emerge from her beloved local Italian Il Centro to star on the local stage alongside Toula Manias from West End’s Taverna Elisa fame, both sharing the spotlight with fashionista and cook Savva Argyrious; and Oz Grown Fruit & Veg’s Anthony Gallis. Brisbane’s top YiasYias will keep everyone firmly in line using their best Greek Grandmotherly superpowers – particularly those acquired from generations in the kitchen.
This year also sees the launch of the inaugural Best Greek Coffee Barista Competition. Experts in Greek coffee are invited to show off their skills and knowledge in the sketo, metrio and glyko as the search for the maker of the best Greek coffee in Brisbane prepares to blow through town.
As the largest cultural festival in Brisbane, there is only one way to take on Paniyiri: sit back and just enjoy the aroma of this gorgeous Greek Cypress. Let her seduce and mesmerize you. You will remain helpless before such alluring Grecian gifts. Because you should. Oopa!