The Sponge Docks is the go-to for a touch of Greek in Tarpon Springs, Fla. Now, the tourist spot is taking things a step further with  A Night at the Islands.

            The Pinellas County attraction combines sponge diving, Greek restaurants and souvenir shops.  A Night at the Islands originated in 2009 as a fun way to “give people more of what they want,” according to Tina Bucuvalas, the event coordinator and Curator of Arts and Historical Resources for Tarpon Springs. The free event feels like a party, with guests dancing in the streets to live Greek music, most recently from Dmitri and The Islanders.

            A Night at the Islands was designed to attract tourists, but Bucuvalas said the event has attracted a large number of locals who want to dance. Here, a portion of the street is blocked off and used as a dance floor.

            For attendees with an appetite, four Sponge Docks’ restaurants set up tables on the sidewalk, allowing guests to enjoy dinner in the fresh air. Of course, restaurants are still open for guests who prefer air conditioning.

            Vendors are allowed to set up shop on the sidewalks, but only if their services are related to Greek culture, Bucuvalas said. Recently, a table was set up to raise money for local St. Nicholas Cathedral, by selling St. Nicholas Icons pressed from the bronze in the cathedral’s old dome. Guests could also participate in a game of Tavli, which is similar to Backgammon.

            For those looking to dance the night away, A Night at the Islands is held on the first Saturday of the month, from March to November.  For more information, visit:  http://tarponarts.org/events/?event_id=19.

By Jessica Kemper

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