Cherry Hill, NJ – Nearly a thousand people came out to the annual “SIGHTS AND SOUNDS” Youth Festival this weekend at St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church. More than 13 churches participated in this annual event that featured a multitude of contests in the arts and entertainment fields; including, photography, painting, sculpting, baking, dance, and theatre, to name a few.
St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church hosted the original event that started some 28 years ago, making it arguably the “longest running arts and entertainment affair for a Greek community nationwide;” “The Greek Orthodox Folk Dance & Choral Festival”, hosted by the Metropolis of San Francisco is 37 years old and much larger. But, it’s specifically about dance and song, whereas Philly’s famed “SIGHTS AND SOUND” event is about much more than that.
If your a painter, sculptor, baker or photographer, or there’s some other part of the art’s world you love then this is the place to be. The annual event showcases an array of Greek-American skilled young artists in a friendly competition like no other. Marina Ana Pantelous (age 15) of St. Thomas entered many of the contests and has continued to participate each year. She took 2nd place for her multi-themed “Frappe and Beach cake” which she produced over the course of two days. When asked about why she made it, she said, ” that this was one of her memories of summertime in Greece. Zoe Nikolos (age 13) of St. Luke took 1st place with her vanilla cake in Blue and White of a Greek Orthodox church. which she completed in 3 days as well.
After 17 consecutive years in Cherry Hill, NJ. The annual event has shifted around the Delaware Valley from church to church. This past weekend, the youth festival returned home, to St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church, where it originated. Although this was a two-day affair that included judging the arts on Friday, The big performances took place in the church gym, during the evening.
English Theatre, Greek Theatre, group folk dancing were the highlighted events that everyone packed the gym for. While upstairs, in the AHEPA room, musical duets, choral singing, and solo instruments were performed throughout the day, to mention a few.
Panels of judges sat with pencil and paper at each event, providing scoring that was accumulated for each church in a variety of categories. Late into the night, final announcements were made about all the winners in each category and overall team/church winners were announced.
The annual event is hosted by the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey.