LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The 33rd Annual International Greek Food Festival will officially kick off on Friday, May 19th with a brand-new food item, “My Big Fat Greek Platter,” and family-friendly entertainment options.

This year, the festival will also collect $3 admission or three canned food items for the Arkansas Foodbank in efforts to raise more funds for benefiting charities. Parking and trolley service will remain free.

“Since we started the festival nearly 33 years ago, we’ve been proud to raise nearly $1.5 million for charity,” said Kevin Wilcox, co-chairman of the International Greek Food Festival. “We’re excited to increase our fundraising efforts this year with the generous support of our friends and local community.”

For the first time ever, the festival will offer the “My Big Fat Greek Platter.” The platter will include generous helpings of pastitsio, long macaroni layered with seasoned ground beef and topped with a thick cheese sauce; spanakopita, filo dough layered with feta cheese, spinach and herbs; Greek chicken; and Greek salad.

The festival will continue to serve Greek and Mediterranean menu favorites such as baklava and gyros, as well as specialty food items through its Old World Market.

In addition to visiting the festival, food may be picked up through the drive-thru or delivered through Chef Shuttle.

“This year, we’re excited to announce two new entertainment options, the Donna Massey Band and the Big John Miller Band,” said Philip Miron, co-chairman of the International Greek Food Festival. “As always, there will also be a wide array of cultural performances and children’s performances to enjoy throughout the weekend.”

The Donna Massey Band will perform on Friday, May 19th at 7:45 p.m. and the Big John Miller Band will perform on Saturday, May 20th at 7:45 p.m.

Other entertainment will include Abigail Pappas, Acapella Rising, Ballet and Mexican Folkloric Dance Group Quetzalli, Dabkeh Middle Eastern Dancers, Greek-American Folk Dance Society, I Can! Dancers, LTD Edition Cloggers, Music of Our People, O’Donovan School of Irish Dance, Talking About Food!, The Dance Project and Traditions and Dances of Russia.

Proceeds from the 33rd Annual International Greek Food Festival will benefit Arkansas Foodbank, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas, Community Connections, Easterseals Arkansas, Harmony Health Clinic, Immerse Arkansas, Wolfe Street Foundation and Youth Home.

The International Greek Food Festival is the largest ethnic festival in Arkansas, offering a vast array of food, international entertainment, shopping, children’s activities and cultural experiences.

In its 32 years, the International Greek Food Festival has donated nearly $1.5 million to more than 30 charities throughout central Arkansas.