The three-day festival gets underway Friday on the grounds of the church, located at 2219 N. Orchard. That’s right off First and Clinton, behind the Fresno Art Museum.“The Greek Festival is a perfect staycation to get a first-hand, mostly authentic, introduction into the hospitality and fun of Greek culture,” says Peterangelo Vallis, of Fresno Greek Fest.
It’s definitely a party atmosphere and, like any good party, food is key. There is a wide array of food available for purchase. Vallis says fan favorites include lamb shanks, gyro sandwiches, halloumi (cheese that grills), spanakopita (spinach dish), moussaka (eggplant dish), pastitsio (baked pasta dish), and pastries.“I really like our loukániko (Greek sausage) that we make ourselves, along with the roast Greek chicken,” Vallis says. “It’s simple, elegant, and packed with flavor.”
Putting on an event that draws approximately 30,000 people each year is no easy task. Pre-cooking and set-up starts in March. There are about 30 core organizers with over 600 volunteers helping during the actual event.
“I’m very proud of what the community has been able to do and how the Valley has embraced the Greek culture,” Vallis says. “When I was a child I thought it was the biggest thing around and now, many years later, it really has become the reality of my youth’s imagination.”
In addition to all the food, the Fresno Greek Fest features a market, play area for kids, and live entertainment. You can learn to dance to traditional Greek music and learn the history of the church during tours of the sanctuary.
The bar area gets lots of action, especially during the evening hours.
“A key component of the Greek culture demands that we be hospitable, especially to those we do not know,” Vallis says. “The festival gives us the challenge and opportunity to entertain, feed, and make smile throngs of people that none of us could readily fit into our own homes. Though I know several who would try!”In addition to supporting the year-round works of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, funds raised through Fresno Greek Fest support outreach in East-Central Fresno. The church supports dozens of organizations who help at-risk youth, recovering addicts, school children, and more.
Event details and ticket giveaway
Fresno Greek Fest runs Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $6. Adults over 65 and kids under 12 get in for free.
Or, you can enter to win two tickets right here courtesy of Fresno Greek Fest and FresYes Realty | FresYes.com.
To enter, click here. Winner will be chosen at random. Must be 18 to enter. One entry person. Deadline is noon (PST) on Wednesday, Aug. 23.