Organizers of a popular cultural event in the metro area are inviting the community to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Greece.
Chris Gianos, event chairman of the 2013 Greek Festival, said the general public is treated like extended family when they arrive at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2101 NW 145, which hosts the festival each year.
Gianos said he has been chairman of the festival for the past six years and has worked to ensure the event sticks close to its roots as a family-oriented experience. The festival is in its 29th year.
“Our motto was originally ‘Come be Greek for a Day,'” Gianos said.
“Basically, when you came to the festival, you were a part of the family at St. George. We're trying to come back to that.”
The event will include food, entertainment, tours of the church and a bazaar where jewelry, artwork and other items related to Greece will be sold.
Greek food — homemade pastries, gyro sandwiches, lamb and chicken dinners and pasticho (Greek lasagna) — is a big draw to the festival, but Gianos said the event offers more than a meal.
It all goes back to the family atmosphere church members create for festivalgoers.
“People felt like they were at home, not just at a dinner. They always felt like they were part of the family,” Gianos said.
He and Connie Chiconas, a lifelong member of the church and a festival committee member, said entertainment will include a Kids' Zone area with inflatables, clowns and magicians.
Chiconas said the food and the dancing are the most popular aspects of the festival. She said a Greek band and several Greek dance troupes are scheduled to perform, and guests will have an opportunity to join some dances.
She said a Greek marketplace featuring bazaar-type booths will be on hand. The booths will feature Greek art and jewelry plus clothing, pottery and iconography.
Gianos said festivalgoers interested in learning about the Orthodox faith tradition and various aspects of the church will be able to tour the building during the event. He said the tours will be led by St. George's parish priest the Rev. John Tsaras, and several deacons.