Opa! The Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church is bringing back an event that fans anticipate all year long -- the annual Central Georgia Greek Festival. The church is inviting everyone to come and enjoy authentic Greek food, live music, dancing, shopping, jewelry vendors, religious artifacts, art and the church building itself.
Holy Cross is an Orthodox Christian parish of 70 families under the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta that services all of Middle Georgia. The Greek Festival offers the church the opportunity to reach out to its neighbors and share and celebrate their culture. Founded in 1964, the church moved to its current location in 2005 and wasted little time in establishing this popular tradition.
While the live music and dancing offer entertainment, and tours of the church educate attendees about the basic foundations of Orthodoxy, there is little denying that most attendees go for the food.
This year, there are three vendors -- Taverna, the Grill and Greek Café -- all offering tasty treats ranging from gyros, chicken souvlaki, pastitsio, dolmada and spanakopita to pastries such as loukoumades (tiny Greek donuts dipped in honey), kourambiedes, baklava, kataifi and finikia. Beverages range from soft drinks to Greek beers and the famous ouzo, which is a licorice flavored liquor best drunk with a laugh and a loud opa!
In addition, the festival offers shoppers the opportunity to browse jewelry and other items from a variety of stores, including Colossius Jewelry & Accessories, the Greek Soul, Greek Market, BuyGreekArt.com, Costa Antoniou, Fruits of the Spirit/Inspirational Gifts and Secrets of the Desert.
The Grecian Echoes will be performing live music and a schedule of dancing will be announced daily. Everyone is welcome and invited to join in the dancing.
Bring your friends and come along. Tell everyone you know. You dont want to miss out on all the fun and fellowship, said festival co-chair Natalia Saratsiotis.
The spirit of fun and fellowship referenced by Saratsiotis has a name.
The Greeks call it Kefi -- when the music is playing and the joys of life consume you making you want to jump, dance and yell opa! The Greek festival is all about Kefi, proclaims the events website. Any joyous Greek function is considered incomplete without music, dancing and singing.
Raffle tickets are once again being sold. There will be one grand prize of $500 and five $100 prizes. Winners do not have to be present. Tickets are $2 each, but purchasing a book (six tickets for $10) earns one free ticket. Part of the proceeds from this years raffle will go to The Childrens Hospital at The Medical Center of Central Georgia.
We have to thank everyone who helped, but mostly we want to thank the people who attend and make this such a success, Saratsiotis said. I cant wait and I hope to see everyone there.
Sixth annual Central Georgia Greek Festival
When: Noon-10 p.m. Oct. 18, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 19 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 20
Where: Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, 859 First St.
Cost: Free to attend, food extra
Information: 478-621-0744; www.facebook.com/centralgeorgiagreekfestival