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Feast of St. Illias - Kioni Panighiri
Thursday 20th July 2006 in the Village of Kioni Ithaki Greece
From the early hours of the morning, visitors to Kioni understood something special was happening in the village, as locals prepared Kioni for the Panighiri which celebrates St. Illias Day each year on the 20th July eve. The kitchens around the village were stocking up on pork and souvlaki and the wine barrels were opened to breathe. In a small garage just above Kioni center, some of the organizers got ready the Raffle and its' prizes, which included a DVD player, not to mention Fruit bowls and numerous bottles of alcohol. One could tell by the Buzz, that this Panighiri, whether well attended or not, was going to be a fun one. By the big smiles on everyones' face, those who attended had a great time, danced the night away, got a little drunk, sometimes too drunk and whoever didn't make a new friend this night, would have no chance of ever making a friend. The Kioni Panighiri was friendly and FUN.
The traffic didn't reach all the way to Raxi, so we knew it wasn't going to be as full as other years, but getting a parking spot was still as thrilling as ever once you reached the bottleneck at the bottom of the hill. The music from the band echoed and bounced around the hillsides, giving genuine reverb to the sound. The stars were out and thick in the sky, the Vathy Police were perched on the roadside, guiding in the revelers, and the walk into Kioni quickly took on walk back in time, to Panighiri past, as the donkey in the field, just before Apostolis Apartments, gave everyone the nod to enter. It was a warm and still night, the perfect night for dressing up and the excitement and anticipation was palpable.
People came from Vathy and Frikes, Stavros and Lefki to see what this thing called 'Panighiri' really means. Locals, ex-pats, visitors, first timers and veterans, and not a single person seemed disappointed by the Festival.
There's no doubt that Kioni always looks spectacular under the moonlight with the street lights reflecting in the bay and the boats wading in the harbour. It's a romantic village, and that's no secret either by the amount of couples heading off around the horseshoe bay to steal a little privacy under the stars.