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Pan-Hellenism Weekend 2009 Wrap-Up

November 30, 2009

Pan-Hellenism Weekend 2009 reminded us that sometimes all it takes is a couple of hundred out-of-towners added to the sizeable Greek young adult population here in DC, some great venues, and a couple of twists to make a great weekend.  Over 475 Greek American Young Adults from over two dozen states across the country attended at least one of four great days here in DC earlier this month.

Comedians Noel Elgrably and Angelo Tsarouchas (center) entertain Pan-Hellenism Weekend 2009 guests at the PHW 2009 Welcome Happy Hour at the Marriott at Metro Center.
Comedians Noel Elgrably and Angelo Tsarouchas (center) entertain PHW 2009 guests at the Thursday Night  Happy Hour at the Marriott at Metro Center.
It was an encouraging sign to see about 30 locals and out-of-towners at the Thursday Night Welcome Happy Hour at Fire & Sage, the hotel bar at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center.  Those who came in early were surprised to have the chance to meet comedians Angelo Tsarouchas and Noel Elgrably, both of whom had just flown in from Los Angeles that evening.  Much of the Happy Hour actually took place in front of the hotel itself where the comedians held court over cigars.  Apparently the comedians and few others from the happy hour found themselves at Lima after the happy hour broke up.

The first organized event of PHW 2009 took place early Friday evening a few blocks from the hotel at the Burke Theater at the United States Navy Memorial as Angelo Tsarouchas and Noel Elgrably took the stage for the first of two comedy shows that weekend.  Despite the early start to the evening, with doors opening at 7:00 PM for a reception with a nice spread donated by AHEPA, quite a number of out-of-towners joined a few locals in making that first show a memorable one.  With essentially an exclusively Greek audience in the room, Angelo Tsarouchas was able to follow Noel Elgrably with a free flowing on-demand set that was easily adaptable to that audience.

With the comedy show as a lead in, Greek Night at The Muse got packed earlier than expected as the comedy show audience all cabbed or walked over to the club by 11:00 PM.  Despite the fact that we had all three floors of the club and DJ Manolis and a surprise turn by DJ Mixalis both on the third floor, most everyone packed the first floor of the club to see DJs CnD from Detroit in action.  With as diverse a crowd as we expected when we first envisioned opening PHW up to cosponsorship from any and all Greek-American young adult organizations, we were excited when DJs CnD launched into a mix they dubbed “Around the Greek World in 35 minutes” featuring Cretan, Pontian, and dances from all around Greece and the diaspora, each to their own pocket of cheers and dancers.  It was a shame that the DJs couldn’t see that the space on the second floor allowed for even greater freedom in the line dancing that took place upstairs.  By the time we stopped counting at the door we had over 400 Greek-Americans in the club making for arguably one of the best Greek Nights this town had seen in a while.

Attendees of PHW 2009 hailed from various parts of the US and from various Hellenic backgrounds, including this group of mostly Floridian, mostly Cretan partiers at the Friday Greek Night at The Muse.
Attendees of PHW 2009 hailed from various parts of the US and from various Hellenic backgrounds, including this group of mostly Floridian, mostly Cretan partiers at the Friday Greek Night at The Muse.
The beautiful weather on Saturday and Sunday afternoons lent themselves to great sightseeing weather.  The great thing about having an event like PHW in DC is that it doesn’t need to be overscheduled in that the city itself offers plenty to do during the afternoon.  In fact, outside of the few people who were milling around the hotel lobby that morning, we didn’t see most everyone until the Saturday afternoon Happy Hour at Penn Quarter Sports Tavern. 

The marquee event of the weekend was the Saturday Night Semiformal Hotel Party back at the Marriott where over 250 people enjoyed the sounds of Zephyros which brought out seven performers to put on a great show that had the dance floor packed for most of the night.  Our free drink promotion got people there early and those who stayed to the end walked away with a ton of leftover baklava and other Greek pastries.

Sunday Night’s comedy show showcased the versatility of Angelo Tsarouchas as over half of his 75 minute set was completely different than his set of two nights earlier, treating the whole new audience (and us here at DCGreeks.com who were present for both of his shows) to a truly interactive and custom show.


Pan-Hellenism Weekend 2009 Photos

11/08/2009 Farewell Greek Night
Featuring DJs CnD
Presented by DCGreeks.com
Washington, DC
11/07/2009 Semiformal Dance Featuring Zephyros and DJ Manolis
Presented by DCGreeks.com
Washington Marriott at Metro Center
Washington, DC
11/07/2009 Saturday Afternoon Happy Hour
Presented by DCGreeks.com
Penn Quarter Sports Tavern
Washington, DC
11/06/2009 Friday Greek Night
Featuring DJs CnD
Presented by DCGreeks.com
The Muse Nightclub & Lounge
Washington, DC
11/05/2009 Welcome Happy Hour
Presented by DCGreeks.com
Fire & Sage at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center
Washington, DC
PHW ended with a Farewell Greek Night at ultrabar.  Based on the turnouts we’d had over the weekend, we were able to get the second floor at Ultrabar which provided more space for Chroma.  Sticking to its unofficial title as “No Rules Sunday,” DJ Chilly basically opened up his playlist to almost any request as the end of the night featured everything from “Time of My Life” from the movie “Dirty Dancing” to Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” to George Harrison’s “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You.”  The highlight of the evening though had to be when Washington Capitals superstar left-winger Alexander Ovechkin came to Greek Night along with center Nicklas Backstrom and defenseman Mike Green.  There were a few lucky people who were able to convince Ovechkin to have a picture taken with them and everyone was surprised with Ovechkin and Backstrom joined in on a hasaposerviko later in the night.

We wanted to take a few moments to thank everyone who made PHW the success it was.  We’d like to thank Stephanie the Intern who diligently sorted through hotel bids back in August and without whom we could never have locked down a ridiculously great deal at the Marriott for $95 a night and have been able to have the semiformal hotel party there as well.  We want to thank our 14 cosponsors who did their part in promoting PHW to their friends, supporters, and alumni, particularly through adding them all to the Facebook invite, which at one point probably exceeded over 5000 people from around the country.  (We hope to have twice as many cosponsors next year because it just helps add new faces to the party.)  As a result of their efforts in bringing people to PHW who designated them on their registration form, we will be able to make $500 donations back to AHEPA, the Sons of Pericles, the Maids of Athena, St. Sophia’s YAL, and the Pancretan Youth of America.  We want to thank AHEPA for sponsoring the receptions before each of the comedy shows, and would like to explain to everyone that the abundance of chicken on the menu in all its forms was our fault not theirs.  Angelo Tsarouchas deserves a big hand for two killer performances that had both audiences laughing the whole time.  We’re glad that Angelo trusted us to not promote this show like we would any other Greek comedian and that as a result he was able to just “Be Angelo” and not have to water-down his act.  Noel Elgrably also deserves a hand for opening both shows and setting the mood for the night.  We’d like to thank our friends at The Muse for allowing us to go all Greek all night on all three floors having to turn away their regular non-Greek clientele for the evening.  We’d also like to thank ultrabar for opening the club for us on Sunday night and for letting everyone on Sunday night feel like a VIP.  (We overheard the instructions given by one of the owners to his staff – “Tonight, everyone gets to sit where they want and dance where they want as well, and that means on top of tables, couches, wherever.”)  We want to thank Zephyros for doing a great job as always.  DJ Manolis not only played on Friday Night but during band breaks on Saturday night as well.  DJs CnD deserve our thanks as always for truly loving what they do and doing it well.  These guys bring energy to a weekend that is truly contagious.  But we especially want to thank everyone who came out and supported our cosponsors, supported this weekend, and went back and told their friends about it.  We hope to have even more people here next year as we truly were able to expose a whole new generation to all that the Greek community in DC has to offer.  


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