Kalamazoo Greek Fest coming back next year

Kalamazoo Greek Festival.


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Event organizers say Kalamazoo’s Greek Fest will be back next year.

The festival coordinator and co-founder say they’re taking a year off to make some changes they hope will make the 40-year-old event better than ever.

“It is not over,” said Betty Peristeridis, event coordinator. “We are simply taking this year to rebrand it, regroup it and really take it back to its humble beginnings.”

The started in the basement of one of Theo and Stacy Skartsiaris’ restaurants. It grew into a one-day festival outside the restaurant. It then exploded into a three-day festival at Arcadia Creek Festival Place, drawing up to 40,000 people annually.

The event would have been held this weekend. Mother and daughter team — Stacy Skartsiaris and Peristeridis — say they usually spend this week preparing for Greek Fest.

“It feels very funny” not to be getting ready, Skartsiaris said.

“It’s been a very awkward week, almost a little sad,” Peristeridis added.

Stacy Skartsiaris moved from Greece to New York, where she married her husband, Theo. He wanted to move to Kalamazoo. They decided to share Greek culture with the city.

The revamped Greek Fest will be moved back indoors with Greek music, dancing, belly dancers and, of course, Greek food. The festival will continue to support local charities.

“You don’t want to stay living in the past, so we’re trying to make it moving forward and doing what’s right for our community and for our restaurant,” Peristeridis said.

The mother-daughter team said they will announce this fall when and where Greek Fest will happen.