CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Salt Lake’s Annual Greek Festival Canceled Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

Sep 6, 2020, 7:12 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2022, 11:26 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — One of Salt Lake City’s longest running and most popular cultural events has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual Greek Festival is usually a huge event, and this was going to be the biggest yet as the festival was celebrating its 45th anniversary.

The event is held the weekend after Labor Day, but preparations to welcome the tens of thousands of visitors start long before.

The now iconic white tent would be set up, but the pandemic has changed all of that.

Every summer, downtown comes to life with the savory aroma, music, and community of its Greek Festival.

This year marks the festival’s 45th anniversary, a milestone made memorable because of the silence outside the Holy Trinity Church.

“It was a very painful decision that we pondered for many months,” said Father George Nikas of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

Father Nikas said this is the first time since its debut in 1976 that the festival has been canceled.

“We have been asked, in a way, not to live to the fullest because of COVID restrictions, and we are not able to share that with people this year,” he said.

It’s a loss, not just for the community, but for the church as the festival is their primary fundraiser. The money they raise goes to support the local parish and youth programs.

“Above all, it was the health and wellbeing of everyone,” said Father Nikas.

George Karahalios, Parish Counsel president of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, has been participating in the event as a dancer since he was in high school.

He says by now, the heart of the festival — its kitchen — would be bustling with hundreds of volunteers.

“This is really heartbreaking, it’s devastating because this is how the Greek community gives back,” said Karahalios. 

The cooking usually starts weeks in advance.

The delicious pastries guests look forward to are the secret recipes of the parish’s best cooks.

“The majority of our parishioners that do the preparation are the older ladies part of the philoptochos society, and our biggest concern was — how do we keep them social distanced in the middle of the pandemic? Karahalios said. “It would be almost impossible to do that.”

And while the festival will be absent next weekend, Father George said there’s a silver lining in realizing that we’re all in this together.

“It’s heartwarming to know that others feel our pain because they won’t be able to attend,” he said.

But Father Nikas said they haven’t quite given up. They are looking at smaller possibilities like a drive-thru later in the year. In the meantime, they are accepting donations to support activities like their youth program.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

FILE PHOTO (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)...
Josh Ellis

Utah doctor, others charged with running COVID vaccine scheme, issuing fake records and giving fake shots

A Utah plastic surgeon, his medical corporation and three others have been charged after prosecutors say they issued fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards and injected minors with saline shots.
13 days ago
FILE: People line up in their cars as members of the Utah National Guard give COVID-19 swab tests a...
Eliza Pace

Gov. Cox, along with 24 other governors, call on President Biden to end Federal Public Health Emergency

Gov. Spencer Cox signed a letter with 24 other governors calling on President Joe Biden to end the federal public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 month ago
flu shot tripledemic...
Matt Rascon

KSL+: The rise of respiratory viruses and COVID’s impact

It’s not even winter yet, and the CDC is warning that the country is experiencing a resurgence of respiratory viruses, which are taking a toll on hospitals and children.
2 months ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

US clears updated COVID boosters for kids as young as 5

The U.S. on Wednesday authorized updated COVID-19 boosters for children as young as 5, seeking to expand protection ahead of an expected winter wave.
4 months ago
...
Alex Cabrero and Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Sandy woman shares frustration of ongoing battle with COVID-19

As life starts to return to normal from the pandemic, for millions of Americans, it still causes a daily struggle. That's the case for one Sandy woman, who shared her story Tuesday.
4 months ago
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer  COVID-19 vaccine booster sho...
Jed Boal

University Health recommends getting omicron booster and flu shot now

The CDC approved the COVID-19 bivalent boosters that target the most recent omicron variants on September 1. Since then, tens of thousands of Utahns have rolled up their sleeves.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Salt Lake’s Annual Greek Festival Canceled Due To COVID-19 Pandemic