If you don't know his name, you probably know Michael Valantasis's face if you've ever been to the Buffalo Greek Festival.
He's been the faithful festival bartender for the last 15 years. But he's worn several hats during his volunteer days. He started in security. “I was part of the original festival crew back in 76-77,” Valantasis said.
Valantasis said people often come for the Greek wine and imported beer. “They come in year after year and that's what I really enjoy about it, dealing with the public.”
And that hasn't changed. But Valantasis said the face of the festival has changed since it started in 1977. “Everything was done in our upstairs gymnasium and the lines were long.”
These days there are tents across the church property to accommodate the estimated 10,000 visitors this weekend. That's also where the bar is and where you'll find Michael Valantasis. He wouldn't miss it. “I hope to be here next here god willing and it will be even better.”
The festival is located at the corner of W. Utica and Delaware Avenue. It runs until Sunday at 9pm.