Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church welcomes the San Diego community to experience Hellenic cuisine, entertainment and hospitality during the 38th annual Cardiff Greek Festival on Sept. 10 and 11. Under its iconic gold dome, the church grounds will once again be transformed with the sights, sounds and aromas of Greece.
“We look forward to sharing Greece’s rich history and tradition with the community every year through the festival’s food, music and dance,” said Rev. Father Michael Sitaras, Pastor of Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church. “The spirit of Greece is alive in us. Let us share it with you!”
For a $3 admission (children under 12, active military, police and firefighters with ID are free), festival attendees will be transported into a quaint Greek village, serenaded by a variety of live entertainers on four stages throughout the weekend, including renowned Southern California Greek band The Olympians. The parish’s youngest members – ages 5 through high school – will perform folk dances in traditional costumes. You’ll have the opportunity to put your best fancy footwork forward and shout “Opa!” with guided dance instruction.
Delicacies will be available, such as souvlaki (shish-kabobs), succulent lamb shanks, roasted Greek-style chicken, pastitsio (baked layers of macaroni, seasoned meat, cheese and béchamel sauce), loukaniko (sausage), dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), moussaka, lamb sliders and gyros. Vegetarian fare includes tiropitas (cheese triangles in filo), spanakopita (spinach pie), mezethes (appetizers) and Greek salad. The Kafenio (café) boasts mouth-watering desserts and coffee.
Father Sitaras will host tours of the church and enlighten guests about the mosaics, iconography and Byzantine architecture. “What many visitors don’t realize is that our gold dome is just as magnificent on the inside as it is on the outside. I love that moment of stunned wonderment when guests first see the intricacy of the Byzantine artwork.” An open marketplace will typify a traditional bazaar featuring Greek imports, pottery, fine jewelry, artwork, a Greek deli, cooking demonstrations and an array of other treasures. The Olympics-themed Kids Fun Zone with games, crafts and miniature golf will ensure children enjoy their time as much as the adults. A chance to win a 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA or $25,000 will keep the festival’s excitement going until the very end.
To commemorate those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, a ceremony is planned with the Marine Corps Color Guard from Camp Pendleton and boy scouts presenting the colors on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
The Cardiff Greek Festival will be celebrated Saturday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 11 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the grounds of Saints Constantine and Helen, 3459 Manchester Avenue, a half mile east of I-5 at the Manchester exit in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Free parking is available at the adjacent Mira Costa College.
For more information, visit www.cardiffgreekfest.com.