Opa! 40th annual Cardiff Greek Festival returns Sept. 8-9


The 40th Annual Cardiff Greek Festival will be held Sept. 8-9 at the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church.

The festival offers a chance to enjoy Hellenic cuisine, entertainment and hospitality as the church grounds will once again be transformed with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Greece. City of Encinitas officials will formally kick off the event with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 11:30 am.

“We look forward to sharing Greece’s rich history and tradition with the community again for our 40th 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 three stages throughout the weekend, including renowned Southern California Greek band The Olympians.

A marketplace will typify a traditional bazaar featuring Greek imports, pottery, fine jewelry, artwork, Greek deli, Culinary Theater cooking demonstrations, and an array of other treasures. Greek delicacies like souvlaki (shish-kabobs), moussaka, loukaniko (sausage), dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), feta fries and spanakopita (spinach pie), and gyros will be available for sale and the Kafenio (café) will offer 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,” Father Sitaras said. “I love that moment of stunned wonderment when guests first see the intricacy of the Byzantine artwork.”

The San Diego Padres mascot Swinging Friar and the Pad Squad will be on hand in the free photo booth from 1- 4 p.m. both days and an opportunity drawing offers a chance to win a 2018 GLA Mercedes-Benz SUV or $25,000. Only 1,000 tickets will be sold.

The Cardiff Greek Festival will run Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sept. 9 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the grounds of Saints Constantine and Helen, 3459 Manchester Avenue. Free parking is available at the adjacent Mira Costa College. For more information, visit cardiffgreekfest.com