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Big fat Greek Paniyiri launch

Above: Efiie meets the dancers. Right Effie and co-presenter Bill McDonald and below right Dimitri Kastrissios plays the Bouzouki along with his dad Kos on guitar.

Photos by Deanne Scott

It was big fat Greek Paniyiri launch at the Greek Club in Brisbane, when tray loads of Greek speciality foods were offered and the official Greek Goddess Effie (Mary Coustas) along with Channel Seven’s Bill McDonald were on hand to make this year’s launch.

This year the Festival marks 40 years, and will be held on May 21 and 22.

Hellenic Dancers performed to Zorba’s Dance and seven-year-old year old Dimitri Kastrissios performed on the Bouzouki and the famous flavours of Greece were shared including the famous Honeypuffs aka loukoumades.

It was a big day for selfies too as Effie and Bill joined the crowd of onlookers.

There was an Anniversary cookbook launched too – and a quick look saw that it was filled with some mouth-watering dishes that are

not too difficult to prepare. There are more than 40 pages of traditional recipes as well as modern twist flavours, headlined with recipes from Paniyiri Cooking Program and the Greek Orthodox Southside Parish Ladies Auxiliary Cookbook. Some of Brisbane leading chefs have supported the Anniversary Cookbook including Matt Wood from Stokehouse Q Alastair McLeod from Al'FreshCo, Jocelyn Hancock from Cake & Bake, Chris Mann from Pony Dining at Eagle Street Pier, the crew from PawPaw Café, as well as Zeus Street Greek, The Coffee Club and The Greek Club.

The Anniversary Cookbook is free and downloadable from and

The Paniyiri Main Stage in Musgrave Park will host more than 20 hours of entertainment including the return of Greek Dancing with the Stars featuring special celebrity guests and judges, the famous ZORBA-Til-You-Drop, Grape Stomping, Olive and Honey Puff Eating Competitions, Spaghetti eating, plate smashing, Hellenic Dancing, and the return of the great Greek characters, Herc & Xena in 40th Anniversary costumes. Famous Greek dances, the Zorba, Sirto, Kalamatiano and Sousta, will be performed to music played on traditional Greek instruments including the bouzouki, tarabuka, lira and laouto.

On Musgrave Park, more than 30 food stalls will showcase the tastes, recipes and secrets of food from all corners of Greece.

Home & Away stars and on screen loves George Mason and Isabella Giovinazzo will attend both day of Paniyiri and take part in cooking demonstrations and the popular, Greek Dancing with the Stars, which will be judged by Effie, while Radio 973 FM and Classic Hits 4KQ will broadcast live both days. Leading authors taking part in the 40th Anniversary Paniyiri include Alice Vazanellis of Breaking Bread fame; Lisa Peterson and Desi Carlos authors of Two Greek Girls Cooking and Mediterranean Eating; and Brisbane born and raised by Greek parents, Tia Mitsis will showcase her latest book A Greek Odyssey sharing an authentic, intimate exploration of a few of Greece's inspiring destinations!

Bouzouki player in Nick Paras will star over both days this year with band NIX Live. Dance groups taking part include the Paniyiri Hellenic Dancers, the Greek school, CYB, Southside Parish Dance Group and more. The official Paniyiri After Party TRELLA will star DJ Kossi, DJ Nicky Zee, DJ Jordee Gee (all local), and DJ Helena Ellis (Sydney)

Delicious food and (right) selfie with Effie.

Below: Effie and Bill with Michael Anastas, President of the Greek Orthodox Community of St George, Brisbane.

More stories in Showbiz News.

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