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Paniyiri Greek Festival south brisbane

Paniyiri Greek Festival, West End 2018

Paniyiri, the epic Greek festival that all started with a Zorba dance in Musgrave Park in 1976, is back for its 42nd year.

More than 60,000 Greeks and honorary Greeks are expected to pack into the park this year for a weekend of dancing, music, rides and feasting.

Paniyiri Greek Festival, West End 2018

Musgrave Park is the epicentre of all things Greek, both traditional and new. Over 30 food stalls will showcase the tastes, recipes and secrets from all regions of Greece, including Honey Puffs, Haloumi, Dolmades, Yiros/Gyros, Souvlaki, Spanakopita, Keftedes, Moussaka, Yemista, Tzatziki, Calamari and Baklava.

And all the usual faves - dancing displays on stage, a Plateia (Greek marketplace), olive and honey puff guzzling competitions, Hellenic dancing, plate smashing, grape stomping and the opportunity to Zorba until you drop will be back for 2018.

Paniyiri Greek Festival, West End 2018

With so much to take in and so much going on, here are 10 absolute highlights you won't want to miss:

1.    Visit The Plateia (Greek Village) - Beside The Greek Club, it's the place to experience the real sights, smells and tastes of a traditional Greek Village - iconic blue window shutters and doors, narrow paved streets, vine-covered pergolas, whitewashed walls and market stalls full of colour, flavours and characters.

2.    Dance the Zorba on the dancefloor in Musgrave Park – with more than 20 hours of entertainment, this is the place to work off all of those honey puffs. Join the Hellenic Dancers and a raft of other Greek dancers as they perform the famous Zorba, Sirto, Kalamatiano, Sousta and more.

Paniyiri Greek Festival, West End 2018

3.    Head upstairs to the Traditional Greek Cooking Program at The Greek Club, where culinary secrets behind Greek cuisine will be revealed with demonstations across both days, hosted by Queensland's best Greek cooks and chefs including Australia’s acclaimed Godmother of Greek cooking, Kathy Tsaples.

4.    Stick around on Saturday night to witness the great Greek dance-off when a posse of Channel Seven and Hit105 stars take to the stage to compete for Paniyiri’s coveted title of Greek Dancing with the Stars. 

Paniyiri Greek Festival, West End 2018

5.    Eat your way around Musgrave Park via the more than 30 food stalls showcasing delectable food secrets from all corners of Greece, including the Aegean, Ionian, Mainland Greece, Cyprus, Chios, Crete, Rhodes and many more.

6.    Enter the Grape Stomping, Olive and Honey Puff Eating Competition, and everyone's favourite Plate Smashing. (The search for Brisbane's best Greek barista returns, and, for the first time this year, you can get your hands dirty with Go Greek Cooking Workshops).

Paniyiri Greek Festival, West End 2018

7.    Discover a feast of knowledge at Paniyiri through lectures and historical and art displays: hear the annual Alex Kondos Memorial Lecture held leading up to Paniyiri and see works from acclaimed Greek-Australian painter and installation artist, Andrew Arnaoutopoulos,displayed as part of the Cultural program.

8.    Take some quiet time out to explore the beautiful Greek Orthodox Church of St George next door to The Greek Club. Here there are fascinating tours which will feature the traditions and ceremony of the Church with Byzantine chanting and Orthodox liturgy.

Paniyiri Greek Festival, West End 2018

9.    Listen to traditional Greek instruments including the bouzouki, tarabuka, lira and laouto from Paniyiri's soundtrack of traditional and modern music. One of Australia’s leading bouzouki players in Nick Paras will be performing, as will the Kids Bouzouki Group, who'll be sure to wow the crowd.

10.  Take the children to the FREE Kids Zone area for art, craft and games as well as dance lessons with the Junior Hellenic Dancers Group. There'll also be a reading of Melponeme and Adonis written by Greek-Australian barrister Michelle Kiosoglous and academic Philliipa Adgemis.

Paniyiri Greek Festival, West End 2018

And if all of that's not enough, head to The Official Paniyiri After Party, which will be pumping with sounds from DJ Kossi as well as guest DJs at The Greek Club.

Nice to know - Paniyiri is the work of a community initiative of the 25,000-strong Greek community of South East Queensland, with funds channelled back into the community via the Greek Orthodox Community of St George (Brisbane’s oldest Greek community, dating from the 1920s).

Need to know - This year leave the car behind and travel free with a pre-purchased Paniyiri Greek Festival ticket to the event on all regular network-wide Brisbane City Council buses and Queensland Rail City Network trains (excludes Brisbane City Council ferries, the G: and Airtrain service).