BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 22: Mary Coustas, aka Effie at the launch of the Paniyiri Greek Festival at The Greek Club in South Brisbane. on March 22, 2016 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Glenn Hunt/Fairfax Media) Photo: Glenn Hunt Mesmerising honey puffs at Paniyiri. Photo: Robert Shakespeare
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Effie and Katerina with Yemista and honey puffs at the Paniyiri Greek Festiva. Photo: Robert Shakespeare

An array of ,any different foods are served up at the weekend-long festival. Photo: Robert Shakespeare

The honey puffs were sprinkled with sugar and the haloumi was sizzling as Musgrave Park transformed into what Greek goddess Effie termed “Wogstock” on Saturday.

Barbecues fired up and the dance floor in front of the main stage was laid down as Paniyiri opened itself up to the public for a weekend-long love affair of all things Greek.

2016 marks the 40th anniversary of Queensland’s largest cultural festival and Paniyiri’s 2016 ambassador and Greek goddess Effie Stephanidis made sure her hair was ready for the event.

“I just make sure my hair is looking as big and magnificent as possible, and that I bring visually all that is expected of a goddess,” she said.

“I have never disappointed yet so I think I have that sorted.”

With over 20 hours of entertainment lined up for the main stage, expect a Zorba-thon, grape stomping and hellenic dancing, Effie said the festival was a great place to settle in and, like honey to the puff, soak up all the festival has to offer.

“It is like Wogstock, it is just the ultimate feel good couple of days where you can just lounge on the blanket and enjoy the weather and great food and just chill,” she said.

“It is organised by passionate professionals that bring so much of what they are good at in their lives to this event.”

While official eating competitions are scheduled over the two days, unofficial eating competitions will no doubt be underway as the jam-packed stalls offer up 100,000 souvlaki, 1600 grilled haloumi, 12,000 dolmades, numerous coffees and Effie’s favourite, the honey puff.

“You hang out for those, the secret recipe, they are like the Colonel those people, I don’t know what the combination is but it is incredible,” she said.

Athelfotis Zarakioton stall volunteer Theo Georga said it had taken months to get the food and volunteers, who were busily packing yiros and turning souvlaki, organised.

“We have more workers than I can count, at least twenty people,” he said.

“This is our biggest fundraiser for the year.”

And the one thing helping him through the two-day smorgasbord of food and dance?

“Coffee, lots and lots of Greek coffee for everybody,” he said.

If you’re lucky you might see Effie carve up some moves on the dance floor.

“I was born to dance, I am going to be busting out every dance I get,” she said.

Paniyiri runs Saturday May 21 from 12 noon and Sunday May 22 from 10am at Musgrave Park & The Greek Club, South Brisbane. More information can be found online.

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