Greek Festival of Hawai‘i is a No Go in 2019

Ongoing renovations at McCoy Pavilion led organizers to cancel the longstanding event.
greek festival dancing
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It’s been a tough two years for the Greek Festival. The popular event, typically held in August, was postponed last year due to impending Hurricane Lane. And this year, organizers canceled the festival because of ongoing renovations at McCoy Pavilion, the event’s longtime home.


Austin Vali, festival committee member, says other venues were considered, including the Hawai‘i Convention Center and Kapi‘olani Park, but none were a good fit in terms of infrastructure, kitchen space and an open-air outdoor setting.


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“There’s no other place to have it. McCoy Pavilion is the perfect fit,” Vali says. “We had a tough time with the hurricane last year, and we had to postpone it. That was difficult for us as well. It’s really tough.”

  greek festival goods


Organized by the Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Pacific, the event began 38 years ago, attracting about 10,000 to 16,000 people annually. Last year, the festival featured more than 20 vendors selling traditional Greek food, drinks and imported goods, along with a handful of authentic performances over two days.


Vali says festival committee members are considering holding a bake sale this year so people can still indulge in their favorite traditional pastries. (He says they will send updates via their online newsletter. Sign up for it on their website.) As for next year, he says they’re hoping construction at McCoy Pavilion will be completed in time to hold the event. Organizers need several months’ notice so they can start planning festivities in advance.


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“We really appreciate the support over the years,” he says. “We’re a small church, and there are maybe 60 families that put this on every year. It’s a great undertaking but a labor of love.”


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Read more stories by Jayna Omaye