Men In Tights


Why do we see men dancing in skirts and tights at Greek Fest? This is part of a Greek traditional costume known as the fustanella that has been worn in Greece since the 12th century. It originally derived from the classical military uniform of the late Roman Empire. It’s a stiff white pleated knee length skirt or kilt, usually accompanied by thick white tights (kaltses), a sash (zonari), a white shirt (poukamiso) and a vest (yeleko). Folks that lived in the mountains were known to wear fustanellas because they were easy to maneuver around in, the tights were used to protect the shepherds and farmers from thorny plants and cold weather. It later became a military uniform for the Greek Fighters in 1821 and is still worn today by members of the Presidential Guard called Evzones, an elite ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Traditionally the fustanella has 400 pleats to represent the years Greece was under Ottoman rule. Today it remains the most well recognized traditional costume in modern history.

Summer Games


With the summer games upon us, did you know that the Olympics originated over 3,000 years ago in southwest Greece? That’s right, the games were originally held every four years in Olympia, a valley near the ancient city of Elis, giving the games the title of the Olympics. Legend has said that Hercules created the games to honor his father Zeus. When the games originated is still unknown but the first games were recorded in 776 B.C..

When the Olympics first began, it wasn’t the 16 day event it is today. It was actually only a one day, one event sprint from one end of the stadium to the other.  The track at this time, was also much wider than our modern tracks, about twenty people could run at a time. The first recorded Olympic champion was a cook from the City of Elis winning the 192 meter sprint.  As the Olympics became more popular, more games were added, making it a four day event. This included wrestling, boxing, long jump, javelin,  discus and chariot racing. One of the toughest events for the athletes was the Hoplite race (Hoplitodromos) where the athletes wore helmets, greaves (shin armor) and shields, adding 50 pounds to their body weight and ran across the stadium.

Victors of the ancient games received a victory crown called Kotinos, made of wild olive leaves and an olive branch, it was presented to them by Hellanodikai (Judges of the Greek).  This was significant because the Olive trees in Olympia were thought to have been planted by Hercules. Amongst the rewards for winning Olympic competitions were a red woolen ribbon, worn on the upper arm or the head. Champions also had the opportunity to marry prestigious women, enjoy free meals, receive invitations to parties and have the best seats in the theaters. Unfortunately, the Olympics were shut down in 393 A.D. but they were reborn in 1896 in Athens in our modern format. These games featured 280 participants from 13 nations competing in 43 events.  Since then, the Olympics have grown to have 207 countries competing, with 306 events in 28 sports categories.






Thank you to our Sponsors!