Victoria Premier Denis Napthine
Melbourne’s Great Big Greek Glendi
Victor P Taffa
Melbourne took on a Greek feel on Saturday night as thousands of Victorians of Greek descent packed a transformed Lonsdale Street to celebrate the annual Antipodes Festival Lonsdale Street ‘Glendi’.
Premier Denis Napthine said he was proud to launch the 2013 Glendi which is one of Melbourne’s most established cultural traditions.
“‘Antipodes Glendi’ celebrates the culture and contribution of our Greek community to Victoria and this year’s event looks to be one of the biggest.” Dr. Napthine said.
Dr. Napthine said that Glendi, which began as a street parade 26 years ago, was now one of the world’s largest Greek celebrations outside Greece and Cyprus.
“Victoria’s Greek community is a major influence on this state’s social, artistic, cultural, political and economic life and we all celebrate that tonight.” Dr. Napthine said.
Dr. Napthine said the Glendi Festival strengthened the historic bond between the people of Victoria and the people of Greece.
“The headline act, Greek and European singing sensation Mihalis Hatzigiannis from Cyprus, is a testament to how the Glendi acts as a cultural bridge linking Australia to the Hellenic world.” Dr. Napthine said.
Dr. Napthine congratulated the Antipodes organising committee for bringing together a fantastic cultural event that transforms Lonsdale Street for a weekend and engages the whole of Melbourne, not only Victorians of Greek descent.
“The ultimate success of Glendi is founded on the work and dedication of community leaders, volunteers, stall holders and performers. Glendi is a jewel in multicultural Melbourne’s cultural crown. Glendi is multicultural Victoria at its best.” Dr. Napthine said.
Dr. Napthine said the Victorian Government has been happy to continue supporting the Glendi and to fund the enhancement of the Lonsdale Street Greek Cultural Precinct, in partnership with the City of Melbourne.
“Melbourne boasts the biggest Greek-speaking population outside Greece and it all began in Lonsdale Street. We are proud to promote the contribution the Greek community has made to Victorian life.” Dr. Napthine said.