Ahepa Hellenic Heritage Foundation - Archive
Andy Kaffes Press Release

News Release - Tournament of Roses ® Parade

Wednesday, January 12, 2000
Contact: Andrew Kaffes
Phone: (202) 232-6300
[Tournament of Roses]

For Release January 12, 2000




Pasadena, California:The AHEPA Hellenic Float captured the Queen’s Trophy in the 111th Tournament of Roses® Parade for the second consecutive year, a rare accomplishment for a second-year entrant, announced Supreme President George J. Dariotis. The trophy is awarded for the best and most effective use of roses in concept, design and presentation.

"It’s a rare feat for a new sponsor’s first two entries to be awarded the Queen’s Trophy," said Bill Lofthouse, president, Phoenix Decorating Company, the builders of the AHEPA Hellenic Float. "We haven’t seen this accomplishment in many years, even among veteran float sponsors."

The float, appropriately themed "Passing the Torch," featured a floral Olympic torch symbolic of the spirit of Hellenism that is to be passed on to future generations, said Nick Perdaris, president of the AHEPA Hellenic Foundation, the organizing body for the project.

According to Perdaris, past Olympian Peter Clentzos, Pasadena, California, and Olympic hopefuls Paul, Thomas and William Pappas, Grant’s Pass, Ore., illustrated the theme brilliantly, wearing Olympic attire that depicted the progression of Olympic dress—past, present and future.

"We were able to salute the Olympic spirit by paying tribute to Olympians from one century to the next," said Perdaris. "Symbolically, Peter ‘passed the torch’ to Tom."

"In addition to winning the Queen’s Trophy, the AHEPA Hellenic Float was successful in projecting Hellenism to a worldwide audience," said Chris Mellas, vice-chairman of the AHEPA Hellenic Heritage Foundation.

According to Mellas, it was estimated that 1.5 million spectators lined the parade route, and over 100 million Americans and some 400 million people in over 111 countries viewed the parade on television.

"There is no better vehicle for AHEPA to project Hellenism with such grand exposure than through this parade," said Mellas. "AHEPA is extremely honored and pleased to be a participant in the Tournament of Roses."

The Float Riders

Clentzos, 90, represented Greece in the 1932 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles and competed in the pole vault. He is a 64-year member of AHEPA and an inaugural inductee in the AHEPA Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Pappas brothers are all track and field champions in their own right with Tom currently reigning as the NCAA decathlon champion. According to author Dr. Frank Zarnowski, a world-renown expert on the decathlon, Paul, Tom and Bill hold the world record for three brothers in the decathlon with a combined top score of 22,558.

The remaining six float riders’ efforts helped to raise money for the project. They included: Denise Benetatos, Cypress, California; Stephanie Hook, Atascadero, California; Anastasia Nickolaou, Huntington Beach, California; Alexa and Diana Tangalakis, Culver City, California; and Mary M. Tangalakis, Woodland Hills, California.

The Float Builders

The AHEPA Hellenic Float was designed and built by Phoenix Decorating Company. In the 2000 Tournament of Roses, Phoenix had 24 entries and received eight trophies, including "Passing the Torch."

According to Perdaris, float designer Dave Pittman is married to the former Mariana Keros, Michigan, who is the granddaughter of the late Gust Keros, AHEPA past supreme treasurer.

How You Can Contribute

Contributions toward the AHEPA Hellenic Float can be sent to: AHEPA Hellenic Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 305, Van Nuys, CA 91408. Please make checks payable to: AHEPA Hellenic Heritage Foundation. All contributors will be officially recognized in published documents and on the foundation’s Web site, www.ahepafloat.org . The foundation is a non-profit California corporation and a 501(c)3 entity.

For more information, please contact Nick Perdaris, (818) 504-2502, or Vice Chairman Chris Mellas, (714) 701-9848, or e-mail: Contact Us .

Established in 1922, AHEPA is the largest Greek-American association in the world with chapters in the United States, Canada and Greece and sister chapters in Australia.

The AHEPA Family consists of four organizations: AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope, Sons of Pericles and Maids of Athena.

The mission of the AHEPA Family is to promote the ideals of Hellenism, education, philanthropy, civic responsibility and family and individual excellence.

For information on AHEPA policy statements, or any of its programs, contact AHEPA Headquarters at (202) 232-6300. For instant information, browse the AHEPA Web site, www.ahepa.org.

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