A story about the small town of Afandou and its people, a festival, and my father.
Afandou, a small town on the Greek island of Rhodes, has comfy cafés, lots of hotels, and is located by the longest beach on Rhodes. It used to be a vivid place where both people and tourists came together at festivals of all sorts. During the financial crisis, many events and related businesses had to close down, and for a long time the town lost its lively spirit. With a population that lacked inspiration due to everyday struggles and the financial problems, doing anything about the situation was a difficult task for everyone.
My father was born and raised in Afandou, and after having lived with our family in Sweden for many years he moved back to Afandou a few years ago. In 2013 he formed a culture association, which has been doing things such as collecting medicine for the poor, teaching children about nature and organizing various events. For a long time before the tourism became a big part of the society, the locals had been growing apricots which were an important product from Afandou. Finally in the summer 2014, my father together with the association arranged the first apricot festival, which gathered more than a thousand people. A year later in 2015 it was time for the second festival, which was expected to become even more popular. This was the first time I had the opportunity to experience it myself, and obviously I got to be the official photographer. The photos illustrate spirit and atmosphere that I captured from my point of view during the festival.
All around the area were food stands selling grilled corn, crepes, popcorn and other good stuff.
Natasha and my father Giorgos Nikolis opened the festival with an introduction and welcoming speech in several languages such as Greek, German and Swedish.
Greek folk dance and music are a central part of the culture. Several dance groups participated, and the style of their dance and music varied greatly from different local parts of Greece and the islands.
Even in times of economic depression and crisis, people throughout history have not hesitated to share their happiness during festivals and ceremonies. The children were obviously also a big part of the show!
The second day of the festival had begun and there were still a bunch of products to sell such as liqueur, marmalade, dried apricots and lollipops.
Just like the day before, the second day was filled with diverse styles of folk dance and music.
When the traditional show was over, it was time for some street dance and rock'n'roll!
And so the people continued to entertain themselves until late at night.
This year the festival was a huge success, attracting over a thousand people, and next year's festival will most likely get even better. Hopefully the future will prove if this festival turns into a tradition for many years to come!