Orange County’s 39th annual “A Taste of Greece” festival is a family friendly event featuring carnival rides, traditional Greek food and pastries, a Taverna with beer and wine, Greek dancing, and more – June 23-25 at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine.
More than 12,000 guests are expected to attend the three-day festival, which will feature traditional Greek cuisine and pastries, wine tasting, live music, church tours, authentic Greek dancing with lessons, and boutique booths reminiscent of the Plaka, a well-known picturesque historical neighborhood of Athens.
Festival hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 23; noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 24; and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 25. Festival admission is just $3 per person, with free admission on Saturday, June 24 from noon – 5 p.m. for seniors 65 years and older. Children under the age of 10 are admitted free (with parents or an adult) throughout the three-day festival. Free festival parking will also be available, with complimentary shuttle buses transporting guests from public parking sites in Irvine.
Greek cuisine and hospitality will be the focal points as the festival will feature authentic recipes for traditional Greek dishes, delicious pastries and a variety of beverages, highlighted with a wine “Taverna,” offering Greek wine and beer. The traditional Greek menu includes: Saganaki (Greek brandy-flamed cheese), Loukanico (Greek sausage), Dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), Chicken Souvlaki (chicken skewers), Grilled Lamb Chops (affectionately called “Lollipops”), Dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), Pastichio (Greek lasagna), Spanakopita (spinach and feta pie), Tyropites (three cheese filling baked in phyllo dough).
Saganaki | creamy Kaseri Greek cheese sautéed in butter, flamed with Brandy
Spanikopita| made with fresh balanced whole spinach leaves
Loukanico | grilled sausage with Feta
There will also be a Greek coffeehouse set up by Portola Coffee Lab to serve Greek and American coffee drinks in a traditional Plaka setting. The Philoptochos, the church’s philanthropic group, will bake around the clock during the weeks leading up to the festival to prepare traditional Baklava and other exquisite pastries. Desserts include Baklava, Kourambiethes (butter cookie served at festive occasions – similar to Italian Wedding cookies), Loukoumathes (Greek doughnut holes), and Galactbouriko, a sumptuous sweet egg custard layered in phyllo dough and honey.
“As Orange County’s largest Greek Orthodox congregation, we are delighted to host a festival that offers an opportunity for the community to experience authentic Greek dining, wine, music, dancing and entertainment,” said Father Steven Tsichlis, Pastor at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church. “This year’s festival, our 39th annual, will offer something for everyone with a variety of Greek-themed activities, and tours of the Church to view the beautiful sanctuary that contains Christian artwork done in mosaic patterned after ancient prototypes that are unique in Orange County.”
A family-friendly affair, the festival will offer free Greek dance lessons throughout the weekend, as well as boutique shops, a variety of games and a full-scale carnival. Event attendees can also enter an opportunity drawing for the chance to win one of five premiere prizes.
For more information on the “A Taste of Greece” festival, please visit www.IrvineGreekFest.com.
We love hearing from our readers!