The formation and major events of the BLOSSOM CHAPTER (renamed KRHTH)
The Orange Blossom Chapter (renamed KRHTH) has had a long and varied history from its inception to the present time. It has been a vibrant member of the PAA as it is evident by the three National Conventions that if has been granted to host (1981, 1984, 2011). Its membership has been active, loyal, dutiful; but, aggressive in tackling and accomplishing Herculean tasks.
Although Tom Saridakis had advertised around 1975 in the Greek radio station, for Cretans living in the Clearwater area in order to form a chapter, the founders were newcomers Manolis Kasrenakes and Bill Lampathakis and longtime resident Speros Frangedis. They met one Sunday in the fall of 1977 outside the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Clearwater, and they decided to form a Pancretan Association Chapter.
The first meeting was held at Bill and Effie Lampathakis’ house. The following adults were present: Anthoula and Kostas Archontakis, Joan and Speros Frangedis, Evagelia and Manolis Kastrenakes, Bill and Effie Lampathakis, Jim and Viki Lemberakis, and Stamatis and Roula Troulos. The following children were present: Andreas Archontakis, Mia and Mike Frangedis, Sevi, Mike and Tricia Kastrenakes, Tere, Jim and Stella Lampathakis, Effie Lemberakis, and Angie Pallas.
The first official meeting took place in May of 1978 at the Adam’s Mark Hotel on Clearwater Beach. After a spirited discussion and careful consideration, the unique name The Orange Blossom Chapter of the Pancretan Association of America was accepted by the majority of the members. The following members were elected officers: Manolis Kastrenakes, President; Bill Kambouris, Vice President; Bill Lampathakis, Treasurer; Lemonia Poumakis, Secretary; Sophie Kourmoulis, Corresponding Secretary; Manolis Boutzoukas, Manolis Eliakis, Dimitris Ferarolis, and George Manolas, Members of the Board.
The first picnic took place in the summer of 1978. All the adults and especially, the children had a wonderful time. The first dance was held at the Sheraton Sand Key Hotel on Clearwater Beach in February of 1979, with over 800 people in attendance. George Poumakis and his committee worked extremely hard to make this event a huge success.
In 1981, the Orange Blossom Chapter hosted the PAA Youth Convention at the Sheraton Sand Key Hotel on Clearwater Beach. The chairman of the convention was James Boutzoukas and the co-chairlady was Mia Frangedis. The Board consisted of Sandra Barris, Angie Bennis, Michael Boutzoukas, Sevi and Mike Kastrenakes, Barbara Katopis, Tere and Jim Lampathakis, Tina and Ted Legakis, Pete Maragoudakis, and Maria Vavourakis.
The dance group, under the supervision of dance teacher Joan Frangedis, performed extremely well. The beautiful Cretan costumes were hand sewn by the ladies of the chapter. The members of the dance group were: Sandra Barris, James and Michael Boutzoukas, Mia Frangedis, Sevi and Mike Kastrenakes, and Tere and Jim Lampathakis.
In 1984, the Orange Blossom Chapter hosted at the Sheraton Sand Key Hotel on Clearwater Beach, one of the most successful conventions of the PAA. There were more than 1,000 members in attendance. The precise management of all the events and the huge success of the convention album, under the chairmanship of Nick Anton and Bill Lampathakis, contributed to a financially successful convention.
The Chairman of the Convention was Speros Frangedis, and the Chairladies were Effie Lampathakis and Garnet Saridakis. The president of the chapter was Manolis Boutzoukas. The Members of the Board were Nick Anton, Angelo Barris, Stelios Bennis, Bill Kambouris, Ann Katopis, Nick Lourake, Manos Vlamakis, Tom Saridakis, and Manuel Skordelis.
The members of the 1984 Convention dance group, under the supervision of dance teacher Joan Frangedis, were: Sandra Barris, James and Michael Boutzoukas, Mia Frangedis, Mike Kastrenakes, and Stella and Jim Lampathakis.
In 1987, the Building Acquisition Committee, under the chairmanship of Speros Frangedis, the diligent efforts of Realtors Bill and Effie Lampathakis, and the overwhelming support of the membership bought the exceptional property at 1821 Curlew Road in the Clearwater area.
In 1992, the Building Committee, under the chairmanship of Manolis Boutzoukas and the co-chairmanship of John Kokolakis, the tireless efforts of George Galanakis, Nikos Mastrokalos, George Mountrakis, and Antonis Penzakis, and the hard work of the rest of the membership, built the outstanding structure that has been used to provide countless hours of delight and enjoyment.
Andreas Terezakis had a vision to build a chapel on our property, and to name it Agios Haralambos. John Filipakis designed it and Kostas Bakalexis and Nikos Mastrokalos built it, with the help of several pious members.
In 2011, the KRHTH chapter has the privilege and the honor to host the 42nd PAA Convention. Our chapter since its inception has been an energetic supporter of the PAA. It is our sincere hope that we will be worthy of our rich history, and everyone will have a wonderful time.
In over 34 years, as we forged friendships, made koumbaries, and watched our children grow up, get married, have children of their own, and see our grandchildren get married, we have come to realize that what binds us together is our Hellenic ethnicity and, specifically, our Cretan heritage.
Bill and Effie Lampathakis