CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — Visit Greece locally at the 32nd annual Greek Festival held at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 11 and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 12.
The event is located one-half mile east of I-5 at the Manchester Avenue exit. Admission is $3 for adults and free for children under 12. Free parking is available at adjacent MiraCosta College. For two days, the church grounds are transformed into a quaint Greek village atmosphere with food, traditional Greek dancing and Greek hospitality.
The open marketplace typifies a traditional bazaar with fresh produce and Greek deli specialty food items, Greek imports, pottery, fine jewelry, artwork, and an array of treasures at YiaYia’s (Grandma’s) Attic. While adults are shopping, the children can enjoy the game booths nearby.
A variety of foods allow visitors to experience traditional Greek cuisine as if it came straight from YiaYia’s kitchen. Appetizers include tiropita (cheese pyllo pie), dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat), taramosalata (Greek caviar dip), rizogalo (Greek rice pudding), and the Loukoumathes (honey-dipped Greek donuts).
A la carte meals feature souvlakia (shish-kabob cooked over charcoal), spanakopita (spinach phyllo pie), pastitsio (Greek lasagna), pilafe (Greek rice), and salata (Greek salad with olives and feta cheese). In addition, enjoy Greek coffee with Greek baklava and other pastries in the Kafenio while being entertained by live music.
The church’s award-winning folk dance troupes, Elpida, Opalakia and Neo Kyma Dancers will perform in full traditional dress on the outdoor patio.
Those interested in learning to Greek dance will have the opportunity as instruction will take place throughout the weekend. Afterward, try Greek dancing in the Taverna to the live music of The Olympians.
“We are convinced that you will shout ‘Opa!’ when you watch our famous Greek dancers perform and as they teach you how to dance the Greek way. We welcome you to our Greek Festival and enjoy,” said Father Theofanis Degaitas, parish priest.
Church Tours will be held each day at 1 and 4 p.m., where visitors may view the mosaics and Botticino marble. Father Degaitas will explain the iconography adorning various architectural pieces of the church, which were produced under the direction of Bruno Salvatori. From its stained glass windows that feature early Byzantine symbols, to the golden dome which portrays Christ the Pantokrator, the church represents one of the finest works of Byzantine art in the world.
A live auction will take place at 5 p.m. both days. The drawing for the annual raffle of the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sedan will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 12. Raffle tickets are $10 each and limited to 7,500 tickets sold. Winner need not be present.
Peter Fellios, parish council president, said all proceeds benefit the church building fund and charities throughout the world including many organizations from Africa, the Haiti relief effort, as well as Kids n’ Cancer. For more information, visit www.cardiffgreekfest.org.