This weekend, everyone is Greek

DOWNEY - "There are two kinds of people: Greeks and those who want to be Greeks," so said Gus Portokalos in the hit movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."Your chance to be Greek - if even for a day - is almost here. Eagerly anticipated each year is the annual Greek Festival held at Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, 10830 Downey Ave. The festival takes place this year this weekend, June 5-6. More than 5,000 people visited the festival last year and this year will prove no exception. As you approach the festival you can smell the lambs roasting on the spits. Succulent roasting lambs have become the signature hallmark which makes Downey unique among the Southland Greek festivals. This year the festival expands to roasting chickens in addition to the more than 130 lambs. Also available will be the gyro and souvlakia and the return of Greek fries. "The Downey Greek Festival is known for its hospitality and great food. I can't think of a better way to have our friends in the greater Downey area celebrate the richness of our heritage," said Father John Constantine, the pastor of the parish. "When you share food with Greeks, you are no longer strangers!" For the past couple of months the kitchen has been full of noise and laughter as the ladies of the parish have made pans of pastitsio, moussaka, tyropites, spanakopites, dolmades and various sweets. The music will be performed by the band Synthesis and will have a beat so you can dance. At 6:30 p.m. on both days, our award-winning dance groups will showcase dances from various regions of Greece and Asia Minor. The Downey dance groups compete at the Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival each year and consistently bring honor to themselves and to the parish which they represent. The church will open for tours throughout the day and offers an opportunity to learn about the Greek Orthodox Church or just to contemplate the exquisite 12th century Macedonian school-style iconography. This past April a significant milestone was achieved in the life of the parish when the church was consecrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Bishop Gerasimos of San Francisco. Other activities at the festival will include the agora (merchant's stalls), presentations of Greek culture and history, and, of course, a kids zone to keep younger festival guests happy. Admission is free before 4 p.m. on Saturday and $2 after 4 p.m. on Saturday and all day Sunday. Senior citizens and children under 12 are free.

********** Published: June 4, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 7