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2017 Annual Tremont Greek Festival

We spent Memorial Day weekend, May 26th to 29th, tabling on behalf of "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" at the 2017 Annual Tremont Greek Festival that took place at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on West 14th Street.

 We set up our table next to the booth that sold Greek coffee and "loukolimathes" which Wikipedia accurately describes as "pastries made of deep fried dough soaked in syrup, chocolate sauce or honey with cinnamon and sometimes sprinkled with seasame or grated walnuts."

All of the people who worked at that table were especially kind to us (supplying us with lots of coffee throughout the weekend) as was Father Dean Dimon and his wife, Ms. Daisy Dimon. Moreover, we just loved meeting Ms. Aggeliki "Angie" Alexandrou who is 93 years old and perhaps the most popular person in the parish because she consistently volunteers for various projects (she single-handedly made a great many of the loukolimathes) and projects an aura of genuine tranquility and compassion. Ms. Alexandrou immigrated to the United States from Greece in 1955 and soon settled in Cleveland where she joined this church and has been involved in every annual festival since that time. Regarding her service, her philosophy is that "when you work, you live longer!" so for her things couldn't be much better.

 Another person that we particularly enjoyed talking to was Mr. Mike Boyeas who teaches a religious education class for the 5th graders and was helping Fr. Dimon conduct the church tours which took place several times a day during the duration of the festival. Mr. Boyeas was a very friendly, outgoing guy so we gave him a copy of "The Immigrant's Way" by Ms. Margaret W. Wong that he very much appreciated.

 We also gave a copies of Ms. Wong's book to Ms. Erika Roman who immigrated to the United States from Yugoslavia via Austria in 1956 and told us that the more one travels the more one sees how important this is and to Ms. Diane Balach whose grandparents immigrated here from Poland and Austria as well as to our friend Ohio State Senator Michael Skindell who came for dinner on Sunday with his mom, Ms. Carol Skindell.

 Another local politico who stopped by to talk to us was former U.S. Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich who was shown around the festival by Mr. Gust Sevastos, who was the president of the Church for many years. Mr. Sevastos estimated that perhaps 25,000 to 30,000 people would visit the festival over the weekend. It certainly seemed that way to us because folks were there from all over including Mother Vanessa Clark, Rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Painesville, and Mr. Tony Gallo, President of the Lorain Chamber of Commerce.

We were very pleasantly surprised when Ms. Rose Marie Costanzo, the noted photographer, made a special effort to give us a photo of Ms. Margaret W. Wong receiving her honorary degree from Tri-C about two weeks ago.

 Unfortunately, since we stuck close to our table except for going for food, we were not able to take a church tour (though we have taken them before) or to watch the Annunciation Junior or Senior dancers who performed outside but we did watch several performances of the Annunciation Little Star Dancers who performed inside under the direction of Ms. Vassilakis Risa who is the daughter of one of one of the original dance instructors at the Church. In addition, Mr. Emmanuel Grimidis, President of the Greek Society, told us that Ms. Risa's daughter is a dance instructor there too thus making it a three-generation contribution from one family.

 To be sure, we had attended this festival many times over the years and had written about it before in this blog but this was our first time there as a vendor or at least as a provider of information and a fine number of people stopped by our table to chat or to acquire information. Among them were:

 ***A social worker who took our information because she assists several people from the Middle East who are a bit overwhelmed by the paperwork .

 ***A person who relative immigrated to the United States from Greece several decades ago and has lived here as a permanent resident but would now like to investigate becoming a citizenship.

 ***A man who once serviced the fire alarm at "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" told us that he liked working at our office because the number of languages spoken there was very impressive; he remembered walking down our hall and hearing meetings conducted in different languages in every room.

 ***A young woman who wanted to volunteer some time assisting immigrants and refugees so we referred her to US Together in Cleveland Heights.

 ***A man who asked us about obtaining information about Greece because his grandson is planning a trip there. We thought about it and referred him to the Consulate General of Greece which he thought that was a good idea.

 ***A woman who immigrated to the U.S. from Cambodia about 9 years ago took some of our Asian literature for her friends.

 ***A man who has a friend who is really into astrology. According to him, she watched Mr. Donald Trump (before he became President Trump) on TV for and in just a few minutes correctly pegged him as a Gemini through his body language and style of speech.

 Plus, we had a humorous encounter with a man who spoke in a thick accent who, upon hearing we worked for a law office, asked us, "are you a liar too?" Obviously, what he was trying to say was, "are you a lawyer too?" But...we still got a laugh!

 Lastly, we commend a very kindly Cleveland Police Officer named Mike who was helping to provide security at the festival. Officer Mike stopped by our table on several different occasions to obtain pens because he always liked to have a pen handy but kept encountering people who asked him for one. Thus, Officer Mike would always politely ask us if he could have another one (several people just walked up and took more than one pen without even saying hello) and we assured him that it was fine.

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC