The North Bergen Free Public Library’s “A Taste of Greece” festival was definitely the place to be on Saturday, June 16, 2018. With Bergenline Avenue closed to traffic, a large stage hosted live performances from several musical groups, while dancers – both professionals and locals who got into the lively spirit – filled the street.
Then the feast began, with a vast array of Mediterranean treats from local restaurants provided free to attendees. Hundreds of people filled their bellies with everything from Greek salad, hummus, and tzatziki to spanakopita, pastitsio, and meatballs – all topped off by a selection of delicious desserts.
Former Hudson County Surrogate Donald Dileo served as master of ceremonies, with Mayor Nicholas Sacco and Commissioner Allen Pascual offering their greetings to the crowd before spending the afternoon mingling with attendees. The cultural and public affairs officer for the Consulate General of Greece, North Bergen resident Evangelia Kanellea, expressed her deep appreciation to the township for making her feel welcome since moving here two years ago, and expressed her admiration for the strong multi-cultural blend within the municipality.
Performing live onstage were the Apollo Orchestra, a four-person band fronted by a tremendously talented bouzouki player. Accompanying their music was a group of dancers from the Greek Orthodox Youth Association of Fairview. This was followed by performances from the Greek American Folklore Society, offering village folk dances in colorful regional costumes, accompanied by rural music on traditional instruments.
“A Taste of Greece” is the latest in the library’s ongoing series of events bringing different cultures from around the globe to North Bergen for a day-long festival of food and fun. Previous events have celebrated the cuisine and culture of Italy, China, India, the Middle East, and other regions. The event was spearheaded by Library Director Sai Rao, with participation from all the municipal departments in North Bergen.