WARREN - Wearing brightly colored outfits and waving the blue and white Greek flag, hundreds of area residents of Greek descent took part Sunday in the 12th annual Greek Independence Day parade.
The march was followed by an afternoon of celebrating at the St. Demetrios Center.
Participants walked from St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church to City Hall for a flag-raising ceremony and prayers. The parade included banners and decorated floats, American Legion Post 540 Honor Guard, and Warren G. Harding High School band and cheerleaders.
Hundreds of revelers mark Greek independence in Warren
Dr. George Ploumbis, president of St. Demetrios Church and keynote speaker, said this is his third year as a speaker at the celebration.
''This is a big day of remembering and celebrating for Greeks, no matter where they are. Today we keep the dream of freedom alive,'' Ploumbis said.
He said the day is a reminder of the freedom enjoyed by many today and to honor those who helped everyone to obtain that freedom.
The Greek Independence Day Parade and celebration was held Sunday in Warren. Waving flags from the porch at City Hall are, from left, Tasso Anastasiades, Elizabeth Kassor, Maria Anastasiades and Vasilia Eivazis. Photo by Bob Coupland
The Rev. Costas Valantasis, pastor of St. Demetrios, said the day allows for the celebrating of independence and freedom.
''It is important to remember our freedom is rooted firstly in God, which is why our Greek ancestors chose this day for celebrating our independence,'' he said.
Mayor Doug Franklin said he was honored to take part in the festivities.
''You, as Greek Americans, have enriched the lives of all those in the community with your legacy and friendship. ... Today let us reaffirm that friendship and solidarity that will guide our work together in the years ahead, he said.
Parade participants gathered outside the front of the High Street church to begin the procession to City Hall on Mahoning Avenue.
Maria Anagnostou of Warren said she was excited about being part of the parade with her granddaughter, who shares her name. The younger Maria, 20 months, was one of many children in the parade.
The day commemorates Greece's uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1821.