Opa! Greek Festival sheds light on Greek Orthodox culture in Oklahoma City

The Greek Festival in Oklahoma City at St. George Orthodox Church sheds light on Greek Orthodox culture with art, food and dance.
BY NASREEN IQBAL niqbal@opubco.com Modified: September 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm •  Published: September 16, 2012
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Katherine Perakis, a volunteer bookstore cashier at this year's Greek Festival, sat pleasantly in the bookstore at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City.

With her white curly hair, apron and name tag, Perakis welcomed guests into the store as she sat at her desk surrounded by miniature crosses, children's Bible stories, and paintings of Christ.

A devoted member of the church since 1960, Perakis always has enjoyed volunteering during the festival.

“They put us where we're needed,” Perakis said. “The bookstore's good but when I'm working the drinking booth, that's when the real fun starts.”

Perakis is just one of many volunteers who help make the festival successful.

This year marked 28 years of the tradition with events taking place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and continuing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $3. For $12, guests could choose to feast on one of three traditional Greek dinners: Greek-styled lamb, chicken or lasagna pastichio.

Each year the festival gives a portion of its proceeds to a charity of its choice. This year, the affiliated charity is the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

The Rev. John Tsaras, who was born in Oklahoma, has been the church's priest for 16 years.

“The festival originally began as a way to help build the church,” Tsaras said. “Now it's a way of reaching out and staying involved in the community and educating people about our faith and culture.”