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Gas Shortage in NC

Gas Shortage Draws Effect on Local Cultural Celebration

By Christina Edwards

September 29, 2008

Asheville, N.C.—For the last weekend in September every year, Martin Luther King Jr. Park functions as a Greek isle. The traditional music can be heard from blocks away, while the smell of lamb gyros and Greek pastries reach just as far.

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church held it’s 22nd annual Greek Festival September 26-28, but this year, in the wake of a gas shortage that has had Western North Carolina in hours long lines at the pump, crowds were significantly smaller.

“I’d say the gas problem has put us down to 30, 40 percent of the profit,” said Tommy Arakas, parish council member at Holy Trinity. “I think because of the economic situation, people are leary of spending money. This is a treat for them, so it gets cut out.”

Fuel supply to the western region of the state has been low for the past two weeks, culminating in empty gas stations this week.

Church members said this year’s festival ranked especially low in comparison to last year, which was the second best turn of profit in the festival’s history.

“It rained Friday, so that was a complete wash out, but yesterday was a nice day, today’s a nice day, and we’re still down,” said Dino Zourzoukis, also a parish council member.

Despite the travel issues, Arakas said volunteer participation was not affected by the crisis, and there was never any question that the festival would be held this weekend.

“We were going to do it no matter what,” said Arakas. “We were going to be here.”

An Asheville gas station, out of regular fuel.

An Asheville gas station, out of regular fuel.

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