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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
David Struett

‘Proud that I am Greek’: Heritage Parade brings community together

Parade participants wave Greek flags from their float in the Greek Heritage Parade on Sunday on Halsted Street in Greektown. The parade is held each year, a day after Greek Independence Day. (Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times)

Hellenic pride was front-and-center on a brisk Sunday afternoon in Greektown as hundreds lined up for the annual Greek Heritage Parade on Halsted Street, held one day after Greek Independence Day.

Spectators waved blue and white Greek flags along the route, from Van Buren to Madison streets, lining up several rows deep at some points.

Leading the parade were the colorful, traditionally dressed dancers of the Perifania School of Hellenic Music and Dance, which has been marching in the parade for about a decade.

Some of their outfits, the traditional clothing of revolutionaries, are heirlooms around 200 years old, said Perifania member Dimitri Dallas.

“The older crowd gets really sentimental because they’ve seen their grandfathers and great-grandfathers dressed in it,” Dallas said.

Eight-year-old Lydia Balaskas’ family moved to Chicago from Greece before she was born. She was most excited to see the parade floats.

“It makes me feel really proud that I am Greek,” she said.

Evan Fish’s dad grew up in Greece, and his grandfather had fought in the country’s army. Evan, 14, a Disney Magnet School student, said he had been learning about his Greek roots in class, and had come to the parade with his mother to explore his heritage.

People in the crowd wave Greek flags at the Greek Heritage Parade in Greektown on Sunday. (Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times)
A local high school marching band makes its way down Halsted Street. (Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times)
A woman carries the Greek flag in the parade. (Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times)
Children wave Greek flags from their float. (Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times)
Greek flags flutter in the wind along Halsted Street. (Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times)
Children wear traditional garb. (Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times)
Greek pride was everywhere. (Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times)
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