It’s a humid Friday afternoon in Fort Myers. Vendors exchange friendly banter back and fourth from behind their booths. Those who aren’t talking are dancing and saying, hello, to every passing individual. Today at Greek Fest, the focus is not on age or race, but community.
Festival goers and vendors alike have an infectious, welcoming nature. Our first stop: a booth run by two young girls with magnetic personalities and zest for life. The pair explain that they’ve attended the Greek Fest for, “as long as we’ve been allowed out of the house!” Following our interaction, the girls return to their dance-off competition with a fellow vendor across the way.
Next stop: a food vendor making hundreds of gyros. Grilling pita bread to a crispy perfection, she explains the evolution of her role at the Greek Fest. A dancer turned grill master, she serves gyros with ease and a smile to boot. With our stomachs and hearts full, we head to the fine jewelry tent. Here, we meet Adelphi, who has worked at the Greek Fest in Fort Myers for 25 years. Adelphi educates festival goers about his traditional Greek masterpieces and their unique meaning. He points out his most noteworthy piece, a necklace symbolizing eternity.
Each individual whom we encounter is driven not only by passion for their Greek heritage, but also a passion to share it with the world around them. If only for today, we are all Greek. Here, everyone is accepted regardless of background, race, or religion. Because, all delicious baklava and pita bread aside, we are all members of one united community of Fort Myers.