DOWNEY - Now in its 29th consecutive year, the Downey Greek Festival will take place this weekend, June 1-2, featuring authentic Greek dance, food, travelogues and more.And organizers say it will be the largest and best festival yet.
The festival has grown in each of its years and has come to be recognized for its authentic Greek food, including souvlaki (meat on a stick), gyros, barbecued lamb, spanakopita and dolmades, along with traditional homemade pastries such as loukoumades, baklava and kourambiethes. The delicacies are made by hand by the St. George Philoptohos ladies.
As in previous years, the festival will feature dance performances by St. George Greek Church's award-winning dance groups, performing authentic Greek ethnic dances. Members of the public are encouraged to join in the dance.
Tours of St. George's sixth century Byzantine-style sanctuary will be given throughout the weekend, where visitors will have the opportunity to view the newly-installed Byzantine Iconostasion (icon screen) and new Greek folk art painted on the church walls.
New this year is a cultural exhibition area featuring ethnic costumes and jewelry from various regions of Greece; a cooking demonstration; and a travelogue highlighting various parts of Greece and the sites to see when visiting.
A dietitian explaining Mediterranean diet will also be on-hand, next to Greek food products from the local deli.
This year's event also features a partnership with Stay Gallery to include a "Stay Greek" art exhibit and Greek Night.
On Saturday, the gallery at 11140 Downey Ave. will open from 7 p.m. to midnight for an exhibit featuring new works by Greek artist Zafiris Gourgouliatos. Donations are suggested at the door and beverages will be sold inside.
The gallery will reopen Sunday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. for "Greek Night," to celebrate the closing of the Downey Greek Festival. Cover charge is $10 with proceeds benefiting the festival.
"Stay Greek" T-shirts are also being discounted for the festival and can be purchased online at stay-gallery.com or at the festival.
This year's festival committee chair is Georgia Covell. The committee "worked tirelessly to ensure that this year's Downey Greek Festival will be the best ever," organizers said.
"They called for more tables, more food, more art and gift booths, raffles for a chance to win great prizes and especially more of the Greek hospitality and enthusiasm, to make it a memorable day for all," organizers said. "It promises to be an event not to be missed."
Entrance to the festival is $2 after 4 p.m. for adults and teens ages 13-17. Seniors and kids under 12 get in free any time. Coupons for free admission can be found in The Downey Patriot and also online at stgeorgedowney.org.
The festival is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. both days on the St. George Greek Church grounds located at 10830 Downey Ave.
For more details on the Downey Greek Festival, call the church office at (562) 862-6461.
********** Published: May 30, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 07