It's Loukoumades Time: Paniyiri 2024 Will Get You Feasting Your Way Through Food From 11 Greek Regions

Brisbane's huge annual celebration of Greek food, booze and culture will return to Musgrave Park in May, with tickets on sale now.
Sarah Ward
Published on March 26, 2024

For two days each year, Musgrave Park in Brisbane's West End pretends that it's on the other side of the world. The menu goes heavy on souvlaki, haloumi and barbecued calamari. For dessert: loukoumades aplenty. The wine hails from the Mediterranean, dancing the zorba is part of the entertainment and market stalls celebrate Greek culture.

The reason for all of the Greek-themed fun: Paniyiri, one of the River City's biggest annual events. First held in 1976, it began at The Greek Club — where else? — as an exhibition. Now, it sees 50,000-plus people eat, drink and party like they're in Greece across a May weekend, with 2024's event running from Saturday, May 18–Sunday, May 19.

This is the second Paniyiri to take place in its OG format in its OG timing since before the pandemic, after the event went through a few rough years. The 2020 fest was cancelled, the 2021 event opted for a scaled-down and largely online format and 2022's big comeback as a full two-day fest was postponed to October due to soggy weather. In 2023, Paniyiri returned to its usual setup, which is exactly what's on the cards again in 2024.

Food-wise, expect bites from 11 Greek regions. If devouring as much as you can is your idea of a great time, the festival's regular food contests usually keep stomachs satisfied. Then, to wash all of that down, there's Greek wine, Greek beer and Greek-inspired cocktails as well.

In addition to eating and drinking, including at more than 20 stalls, the array of Greek revelry spans grapes to stomp, plates to smash, TV stars to rub shoulders with and cooking demonstrations to watch. To really ensure that attendees feel as if they've jumped over to Europe, a pop-up Greek village also sets up shop. Also, it wouldn't be Paniyiri without fancy footwork via Greek Dancing with the Stars and the Hellenic dancers.

Alongside relishing all things Greek in Musgrave Park, Paniyiri also takes over its original home at The Greek Club. And if you've always wondered why it has the name it does, that's for a very fitting reason: the event's moniker means 'festival' in Greek.

"As always, we''e looking to add new elements and experiences while bringing back Paniyiri festival favourites to give patrons a little taste of Greece — the best weekend of Greek food, dancing and fun," said Kos Kastrissios, who co-chairs the event's volunteer organising committee.

"Everyone involved is incredibly proud that the Paniyiri Greek Festival brings so much joy to the thousands of people who come to dine and dance and party in the park. And patrons can feel proud too, as every cent raised over the weekend goes back into community and charities, as Paniyiri is a not-for-profit event."

Paniyiri 2024 will take place from Saturday, May 18–Sunday, May 19 at Musgrave Park and The Greek Club, Edmondstone Street, South Brisbane. For more information or to buy tickets, head to the event's website.

Published on March 26, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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