Philadelphia, the American city with the Greek name meaning the City of Brotherly Love, its name said it all yesterday. Its Greek community did the honors of playing host to fellow Hellenes from all over the United States. United as ambassadors of our city and our Greek-American and Greek Orthodox community, the community hosted a cultural affair at the Water Works Restaurant in Philadelphia. Some 2500 attendees, who were in town for the 42nd Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress, were treated to the hospitality of Philadelphia – Greek style.

Michael and Anastasia Karloutsos, owners of the Water Works Restaurant located along the scenic Schuylkill River in Center City, opened the doors to the restaurant and the entire complex. The landmark and historic facility sits majestically along with Fairmount Parks’ waterfront property, next to the Philadelphia Art Museum. It is America’s first watershed facility and provided water for Philadelphia until early 1909.

The Grecian styled exterior of the restaurant and its adjacent buildings were filled with a sea of Hellenes gathered to share the special day. Greek food and drink was available under tents and pavilions strategically located along the grounds, prepared and served by the hundreds of young and old volunteers from the local Greek Orthodox churches. As you strolled through the area, looking out over the stately river, actors dressed as Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross welcomed you to Philadelphia.

The affair featured dance groups from all over the Delaware Valley and even Baltimore. The Pan-Macedonians, Pontian Akritai, St. Demetrios of Upper Darby and St. Demetrios of Baltimore dance troupes showed off their regional and island folk dances, while Atlantis of Philadelphia, one of the nation’s premier Greek-American bands, kept the crowd dancing in between and into the late evening.

A late concert by comedian Basile and a fireworks display over the Schuylkill River behind the Water Works Restaurant closed out the evening. It was a memorable day for the Congress attendees and especially for the Greek-American community that ended on a high note and reflected the community’s strength to come together as one and shine.