Grecian Festival Returns For 36th Annual Event

A little over 36 years ago, a Cape Cod church was facing hard times. Money was tight and with so many good works to do, the members of Saint George Greek Orthodox Church of Cape Cod in Centerville were feeling the strain.

A group of parishioners came up with an idea, a festival exhibiting the joys of Greek culture. They had seen similar events thrive in the past in other communities and were confident that Cape Codders would come out and spend a few bucks.

They were right.

“The issue, as with many churches, is we have a financing problem so over the years the festival has become a major generator of cash flow for our church,” explained Saint George’s parishioner and festival volunteer Christos Alex.

“The whole community participates in it. The elderly women and the young women cook all of the food in our kitchen, and then on the day of everybody is servicing it.”

“So it’s all the generate money for the church operations.” he continued, “for our outreach programs, religious programs and educational programs.”

Over the last third of a century the festival has grown enormously and become one of the must-attend events on the region’s July social calendar with plenty of traditional food, dancing, and vendors for attendees to enjoy.

One of the newer additions – newer being a relative concept, this one is two decades old – is the Laity Awards. The award allows the church to honor parishioners who sacrifice their time, talents, and/or resources for the sake of the parish community.

Parishioners explained that recognitions like this are important, because while the Grecian Festival is principally a fundraiser it serves a second but equally vital purpose.

The exposure of Greek culture to those who may be unfamiliar, and a reminder for those within the orthodox community of their own history and supporters.

Since 1982, the three-day celebration has been free to enter and free to park, should you be able to locate a spot.

“The Grecian Festival is an outreach to the larger community of Cape Cod,” said Father Panagiotis K. Giannakopoulos.

“A chance to expose our culture, our customs, our faith and allow the people to have a good time.”

Each year features dance performances from traditional Grecian dancing troupes, as well as music from Greek-American dance bands like the “Ta Pethia Orchestra” and Greek performer “WStone” who take to the stage throughout the festival.

Another popular component of the festival is the variety of culinary offerings which includes Lamb Shank, Pork Souvlaki, Greek style Fish-Plaki, Moussaka, and Spankopita all in addition to the crowd-favorite Gyro Stand, and an array of traditional Greek desserts.

Patrons can shop at the Agora for Greek food products, or stop at the Kafenio for a cup of authentic Greek coffee and a piece of pastry. The boutique offers souvenir-type items that one might purchase on a vacation to Greece as well as many attic treasures.

While there the public is invited to walk through the classically designed Byzantine Church, there are lectures offered about orthodox theology, and an array of classic religious artifacts on display.

“It used to be so much smaller, and every year it grows,” says Alex, estimating the event consistently draw well over ten-thousand people, “Everyone wants to be Greek for a day.”

The festival starts today and runs through Sunday. For more information, click here.
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Hyannis, MA 02601
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