ENCINITAS — The two-day Greek Festival at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church shared traditional Greek food, music and dance Sept. 7 and Sept. 8.
More than 15,000 people attended the family friendly two-day event that boasted music and dance performances, a kafenio of Greek pastries, a taverna beer garden and main stage and a children’s game area.
“We pride ourselves on being friendly and welcoming,” Diane Truesdell, festival committee member, said. “We share the foods, tastes and aromas of Greece.”
Food booths cooked souvlaki lamb and chicken grilled skewers, spanakopita spinach phyllo pie, dolmathes yialantzi stuffed grape leaves and other tasty favorites.
Entertainment was performed throughout the two days on three different stages.
The Armonia and Neo Kyma youth dance troupes entertained audiences with traditional dances of mainland Greece and the Greek islands on the taverna main stage.
The Olympians five-piece band also performed on the taverna stage. The group comprised of guitar, bass guitar, drums, keyboards and glockenspiel players is touted as the Southern California’s premier Greek band.
Inside the festival’s kafenio coffee shop a selection of a variety of fresh Greek pastries could be purchased. Tables were set up for families to enjoy the treats and be entertained by accordion music.
“They’re all Greek pastries,” Truesdell said. “It’s a real popular spot.”
Outside under an Olympic arch a children’s game area offered a fishing game, tossing games and miniature golf.
The golf course was elaborately crafted and included a windmill and a cloud covered mountain golfers had to navigate through.
“One of the holes is a reproduction of the church, it’s very unique,” Truesdell said.
There were also opportunities to tour the inside of the church and learn about the icon adorned stained glass windows, mosaics and Botticino marble interior.
Festival food booths, a game area and the Mercedes Benz raffle were sponsored by the church and manned by church volunteers for the congregation’s fundraiser. Volunteers said the hours of cooking and serving food they put in is their gift to the church.
This is the 36th year the Cardiff Greek Festival has been held.