Tarpon Springs, Florida -- Between 25,000 and 30,000 people are expected to crowd into the Greek fishing village of Tarpon Springs this Sunday for the city's 107th Epiphany celebration.
But even before the teen-aged boys dive into Spring Bayou, there are a lot of festivities to enjoy.
The Feast of the Epiphany marks the baptism of Jesus Christ by St. John the Baptist in the River Jordan.
Epiphany events begin on Thursday, when visiting bishop Metropolitan Nikitas Lulias blesses the fishermen, their vessels and the water at the Sponge Docks on Dodecanese Boulevard. Both commercial fishermen and recreational boaters are encouraged to participate. The blessing will of the fleet will take place at noon.
On Saturday, an Epiphany Celebration Dance, featuring live music, will be held at St. Nicholas Spanos Hall. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children under 12.
On Sunday, Jan. 6, Epiphany observances begin at 8 a.m. at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Rev. Father Michael Eacccarino will officiate.
A procession to Spring Bayou will follow the service, featuring school children in traditional costumes, choir members, Greek folk dancers. After the release of a white dove symbolizing the Holy Spirty, the Archbishop will cast a white cross into the water and 48 young men will dive into Spring Bayou, each seeking the honor of retrieving it.
Following the cross dive, an Epiphany Glendi (festival) with food, drink, live music and dancing begins at Craig Park.
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