Αn estimated 150,000 patrons flocked to Lonsdale Street to participate in the Annual Antipodes "Glendi" during the weekend, making the event one of biggest in recent memory.
With excellent weather conditions and exceptional organization, the Glendi celebrated "Apokries" (the commencement of lent) with a unique and exciting 'Carnavali' atmosphere.
Lonsdale Street, the heart of the Greek precinct, celebrated everything that Greek culture has to offer to the residents of Melbourne. The new look "Glendi" provided its patrons a taste of culinary delights from all regions of Greece; mixing the traditional with the contemporary. The street was decorated with the musical traditions of apokries and also featured a cultural tapestry of customs from the mountains of Epirus to the islands of the Aegean. The highlight of both evenings was the live performances of two of Greece's most popular musical acts: Ta Pedia apo tin Patra and Zig Zag who had the audience dancing for over two exhilarating hours.
On Saturday night the Premier of Victoria Mr. Baillieu officially launched the Festival, in the presence of Mr. Robert Doyle the Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne, His Grace Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis, representatives of the Federal and State Governments, the newly appointed Consul General of Greece in Melbourne Ms Eleni Lianidou and other dignitaries.
Both the Premier Mr. Baillieu and other guest speakers highlighted during their speeches the contribution of Greek migrants to our multicultural Australian society. The Premier also announced that in 2012, as part of the 25th Antipodes Festival celebrations, the Victorian Government will increase its contribution to the Festival from $ 75,000 to $100,000.
The President of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, Mr. Bill Papastergiadis, in his speech noted that "in many ways, the story of the Antipodes Festival is the story of all of us. That is, that each of us brings something new, something interesting and different to this wonderful city and great country Australia"
Finally Ms Eleni Lianidou, the Greek Consul General made specific reference to the origins of 'Carnavali' and praised the endeavours of the board to revive the ancient Greek custom.
The Antipodes Festival is proudly presented by the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria.