(July 12, 2013) St. George Greek Orthodox Church continues to draw thousands of visitors to the Ocean City convention center each year for its Greek festival where guests can enjoy ethnic food, music, dancing and art. Festival Promotion Coordinator Alexandra Hall said this weekend will be no exception.
“It’s the largest of the Eastern Shore Greek festivals,” she said. “We have quite a following. Greeks love to come, obviously, but everyone is welcome. People who have an affinity for Greece like to come, they can relive the sites, sounds and flavors.”
The 24th annual three-day event is scheduled to begin today, Friday, at noon inside the 40th Street venue. Hall said it is the biggest outreach fundraiser for the church. People who love the Greek culture come to support the festival, which “keeps the church going,” she said.
Hall said the food is the festival’s main attraction. All the delicacies are homemade or prepared by expert Greek vendors. Guests can enjoy lunch and dinner entrees, including pastitsio, moussaka, lemon chicken, spanakopita (spinach pie), tiropita (cheese pie), dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) and gyros. Hall said the lamb shanks are usually the first to sell out.
Hall said guests especially love the pastries, provided this year by members of the St. George Greek Orthodox Church Ladies Philoptochos. They will sell baklava and other items to satisfy the sweet tooth. Hall said visitors leave with grocery bags full of pastries to store in their home freezers. Boxed pastries will also be available.
“You just can’t find food like this around here,” Hall said. “You can’t get this stuff easily and it’s not like in New York where there are Greek bakeries everywhere. There are very few on the shore.”
All food will be served daily from noon until close of the festival and is available for eat-in or carry-out. Hall said visitors can listen to the live band, watch a dance performance or shop for art and jewelry. The Greek band Golden Flame will perform nightly after 5 p.m. Guests can also watch a Greek folk dance performance by Jr. Aegean Odyssey Dancers, or participate on the dance floor themselves.
“People can get up and dance with them,” she said. “Everyone from babies to old people and it doesn’t matter if you know the steps. Nobody judges you, we don’t do that.”
Visitors will also have the chance to win $5,000 by purchasing a raffle ticket for $100. Only 100 tickets will be available. Hall said families or business groups will purchase one ticket together and split the winnings. The winner does not have to be present to claim the prize. Hall said the prize is “just enough for a little Greek vacation.”
A Roketa motor scooter, donated by Fun Cycles, will be up for auction. Entry to the festival is free before 4 p.m. The cost after 4 p.m. is $3 for adults and free for children under 14 when accompanied by an adult.
The festival is open Friday and Saturday noon-11 p.m., and Sunday noon-9 p.m. Parking is free.
For more information call St. George Greek Orthodox Church at 410-524-0990 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.