According to Father Alexander Karloutsos of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons, which hosts the event each July, ongoing construction on the church grounds has put a hitch in the plans.
The festival, known for the charm of traditional Greek dancing, pastries and dishes, was going to be held at the Southampton Elks Lodge property on County Road 39, as it has been in past years, but the lodge was already booked, Father Alex said. The church’s second option was to hold it on church grounds, as has always been the goal, but the church is still in the middle of construction of its new Dormition of the Virgin Mary Sanctuary, and the Nicholas S. Zoullas Hellenic Center community hall.
“We don’t want anybody to get hurt, and we don’t want to get into lawsuits,” Father Alex said. “Next year, we’ll be alive and well.”
In place of the Greek Festival, the church plans on raising funds at its annual Blue Dream Gala in July. The profit will be divided between the church and the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs and services to injured service members between active duty and civilian life.
“There are different ways of addressing the shortfall of not making our money from the festival,” Father Alex added. “I think it might be good for us to stop. People will say, ‘Jeez, wait a minute, we missed the festival. We want it back.’”
Despite the circumstances, Father Alex said he’s not disappointed.
“I think the church, when it’s done, will be the jewel of the Hamptons,” he said. “I’m happy, because I’ll see my wife much more. During the festival, she’s always in the kitchen.”