RICHMOND, Va. — The Richmond Greek Festival has faced financial difficulties of late and is now relying on a series of loans offered by the local German food festival, Richmond Oktoberfest, to maintain their operations. Seeing that their expenses for artisanal moussaka and Mythos brand beer had skyrocketed in recent years, the Greek Festival was faced with a dire decision: organizers could either request a series of loans from Richmond Oktoberfest or start working after lunch. The choice was obvious.
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“The Greek Festival has been running deficits for decades,” Greek Festival organizer Athena Papadopoulos explained. “An aging customer base, systemic corruption, and our well-established program for baklava entitlements all contributed to an untenable financial situation.”
Papadopoulos was charged with finding additional sources of funding. Unfortunately, the Italian Festival, the French Food Festival, and the Spanish Food Festival all refused, citing many of the same issues. International food festivals do not seem able to afford to give away as many free samples as they could in earlier decades.
Papadopoulos had hoped to rely upon contributions from the British Food Festival, but those hopes were quickly dashed when it was announced that the British Food Festival organizers had voted to leave Richmond’s Epicurean Union in June of 2016. The Epicurean Union had been established in 1993 with the hopes of strengthening food festival unity in the wake of the collapse of the Russian Food Festival.
After all previous plans had fallen through, Papadopoulos reached out to chief organizer of Richmond’s Oktoberfest, Angie Markle. “Our festival has been very prosperous of late, no doubt due to a strong industrial sector composed largely of middle-aged dads who volunteer to pour beer for free,” Markle stated. “We felt it was our responsibility to aid other food festivals in need after our failed attempt to unite with the Italian and Japanese food festivals to maintain food festival supremacy in the Commonwealth.”
Papadopoulos has expressed optimism given the new influx of funds from Richmond Oktoberfest. “We owe a great debt to Angie Markle, literally,” Papadopolous said. “Because of her festival’s generous loans, we now have the ability to maintain the Greek Food Festival for the next few years.”
When asked whether the Greek Food Festival would attempt to be more thrifty in the future, Papadopoulos replied, “We have no plans to alter any of our baklava entitlement programs, thereby guaranteeing free samples for everyone. I’m sure we’ll find a way to pay Angie back.”
“It’s that Mediterranean work ethic that gets me up at the crack of noon to work for two hours before lunch, grab a coffee, take a nap, work for 15 minutes, then stop for dinner,” Papadopoulos continued. “I’m sure we’ll be fine.”