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Greek bash to raise money for local charities

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NEW PORT RICHEY -

“Opa! Party with the Greeks” will offer a lavish buffet of Greek food and a show with a Greek band, folk dancers and belly dancers, organizers said.

The event, Friday, April 26, will raise money for several nonprofit agencies that help developmentally disabled young adults, explained Judith Koutsos, event chairwoman for Daughters of Penelope, Eros 356.

The group is putting on the show 6:30-11 p.m. at the Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey.

The suggested donation is $45 per person. For tickets, call Spartan Manor, at (727) 849-6464; or Koutsos, at (727) 842-6821.

About 250 people attended last year’s bash and raised $10,000, organizers said.

The benefit will aid the Open Door School, AFIRE and the Center for Independence, all of which help developmentally disabled adults build everyday living skills. This year, the organizers added Pasco Mental Health Foundation as a beneficiary.

The groups aid scores of clients, yet the public often is unaware of the hard work accomplished by the agencies, Koutsos said. AFIRE stands for Advocates for Insuring Retardates Entitlements, yet one person mistook the organization for a fire extinguisher repair service.

Daughters of Penelope, Eros 356 also provides scholarships to three high school students.

Formed 33 years ago, the local chapter also supports hospices, Salvation Army domestic violence program, Volunteer Way food bank and other charities.

Guests can party hearty, Koutsos promises.

She promises the chef will prepare an “awesome buffet” of Greek foods, including Greek marinated chicken, pasticio, Greek vegetables, calamari, spanakopita, Greek salad and dolmades.

A banquet of Greek pastries follows, including baklava and Greek rice pudding.

For entertainment, the “world renowned” Greek band Ellada will perform, Koutsos said. “People come from great distances to hear them,” she remarked.

Greek folk dancers in full regalia will provide the floor show.

Belly dancers will perform with their swords and veils in the Veiled Visions Belly Dance Review.

“Believe it or not, as many Americans attend as Greeks because it is such a different type of fundraiser,” Koutsos said.

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