Gamer’s Arcade Dreams Come True

Replay Amusement Museum is one of the places in Tarpon Springs where people come to revisit the glory days of old arcade and pinball games. A year and a half ago the museum was put together by Brian Cheney, a collector of classic arcade games, since he ran out of space to keep those games he created the museum to share with the public and continue to collect more.

Skyler Johnson, the manager of the museum, worked along with Cheney.

“This museum is dedicated to promoting the culture, historical significance and artwork of vintage arcade and pinball machines,” Johnson said. “There’s so much artwork, creativity and music involved in these machines that we want to be able to share them and there’s not many places where you can experience these machines that were originally out in public locations for people to play.”

Modern gaming is a lot more story driven and free roaming, but classic arcade games are more challenging and requires learning how many of them work and a lot of practice.

“For example, you can play an arcade game and a lot of people continue all the way through it but maybe the goal is to beat the game in one credit without continuing, ever,” Johnson said.

The Replay Amusement Museum is open Thursday and Sunday through 11 a.m. through seven p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays are 11 a.m. through 11 p.m. It is a great place for people of all ages to enjoy and recapture their gaming experiences.

Tarpon Spring’s Greek community enjoys annual dive for crosses to celebrate Epiphany

The Greek community in Tarpon Springs celebrates the Epiphany annually Jan. 5.

“Epiphany is a holiday that Orthodox (Greeks) celebrate to honor the baptism of Jesus Christ,” said Viola Kalouris, mother of one of the divers.

“We have the archbishop come and he tosses a cross into the water, and we all jump in after it,” Gregory Kalouris said.

While the community and other spectators come out to watch the ceremonious diving to recover the cross, that is not all that goes into the tradition of Epiphany.

The young men who will be diving  gather at the church to prepare about a month before the event. The teens learn about the tradition of Epiphany from the church and work together to build the boats used to get them out into the water.

“When we’re all working together, organizing the Epiphany, getting the boats together, all jumping in together — it’s really a bonding experience for all the young men,” Gregory Kalouris said.

Next year is Gregory Kalouris’ last year to dive. While he wants to be the one to recover the cross, he also believes, along with the others, that the person who gets the cross is divinely predetermined.

All are welcomed and encouraged to come out to Tarpon Springs to witness the traditional cross diving for the annual Epiphany.