Baltimore, MD – On Sunday, April 19, 2015, Hellenes and Phil-Hellenes gathered in Baltimore’s Greek Town to celebrate and participate in the Greek Independence Day Parade, honoring our ancestor’s sacrifices and to preserve the Hellenic ideals in America. The parade kicked-off with a VIP luncheon at Ikaros Restaurant on Eastern Ave. Xenos Kohilas, owner of Ikaros was more than happy and honored to host the parade luncheon. Aris Melissaratos, Dean of Stevenson University Brown School of Business & Leadership commented, “It’s nice to see people from all over the east coast join us here in Baltimore. It’s a very important occasion, and I am glad that they are doing it and that people came out to support the parade. I am really happy to see the “omogenia” coming together to support these kinds of events.” Leading member of the Maryland Greek Independence Day Committee, Georgia Vavas said, “Today is a beautiful day for all Hellenes to come out and show their Hellenic heritage. We are honored to have so many dignitaries here with us commemorating the 194th Anniversary of Greek Independence.”
Parade announcers were George A. Stakias and Despina Larentzos. Father Michael Pastrikos of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church gave the opening prayer. Grand Marshal of the parade was the Mayor of Annapolis, Mike Pantelides, who said a few words about the important role that Hellenism has played in America and the preservation of our heritage. Kaliope Parthemos, Chief of Staff to Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, presented a proclamation on behalf of the Mayor. The New York Hellenic Philharmonic Society was also there and performed the Greek national anthem and Greek patriotic songs for the crowd. Baltimore’s Pride and Joy, The “Evzones” under the leadership of Stavros Katsas also marched in the parade. Dignitaries present: Retired U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes, U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes, Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides, State Senator Bill Ferguson, State Delegate Luke Clippinger, State Delegate Peter A. Hammen, State Delegate Corey McCray, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City Councilwoman, Hellen Holton, Baltimore City Councilman Eric Costello, Baltimore City Councilman, James B. Kraft, Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby, Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott, Baltimore City Councilwoman Rikki Spector, Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes, Baltimore County Sheriff R. Jay Fisher, Col. Evangelos Papadopoulos, Defense Attaché, Embassy of Greece, Kaliope Parthemos, Chief of Staff to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Col. John Gavrilis, Chief of Police, Maryland Transit Administration, Aris Melissaratos, Dean, Stevenson University Brown School of Business & Leadership, Nick Larigakis, President, American Hellenic Institute, Paul Kotrotsios, Founder & Publisher Hellenic News of America and Hermes Expo International and the Maryland Greek Independence Day Committee.