Greek Fest leader passes

Sandra ClarkObits, West Knoxville

KiKi Regas Liakonis was a reporter’s go-to on Greek Fest, the extravagant celebration launched in 1977 to introduce Greek food, culture and dance to Knoxville and East Tennessee. It grew to attract some 20,000 visitors over a three-day weekend and its leaders have used income to support charities.

KiKi Liakonis passed away on July 18, 2023, at age 84. She was a lifelong member of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, which her parents helped establish. And she helped organize and promote Greek Fest from its inception.

KiKi was a second-generation member of the Regas family, best known for the Regas Restaurant, founded in 1919 by brothers Frank and George Regas. Her dad was George, and KiKi worked in the restaurant for a time. Her cousin Bill Regas operated the restaurant in its final years, closing it in 2010.

Whether she was playing tennis or welcoming valued guests to the Regas Restaurant, KiKi brought a sense of class and OPA (joy) to the event. She will be missed.

The family will receive friends on Saturday, July 22, from 10:30-11:45 a.m. at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. The funeral will follow. Family and friends will then travel in procession to Lynnhurst Cemetery for the interment. The full obituary is here.

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