Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church welcomes the San Diego community to join the celebration at the 41st Annual Cardiff Greek Festival on Sept. 7 and 8.
Enjoy and experience 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. 7 at 11:30 am.
“We look forward to sharing Greece’s rich history and tradition with the community again for our 41st 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.
The parish’s youngest members – ages five through high school – will perform folk dances in traditional costumes. You’ll have the opportunity to put your best fancy footwork forward and shout “Opa!” with guided dance instruction.
Delicacies will be available, such as Greek-style roasted lamb shanks and lemon chicken, souvlaki (shish-kabobs), pastitsio (baked layers of macaroni, seasoned meat, cheese and béchamel sauce), moussaka, loukaniko (sausage), dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), and gyros. Vegetarian fare includes tiropitas (cheese triangles in filo), spanakopita (spinach pie), feta fries, mezethes (appetizers), Greek salad and vegan options.
The Kafenio (café) boasts 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,” said Father Sitaris. “I love that moment of stunned wonderment when guests first see the intricacy of the Byzantine artwork.”
The 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.
The Kids Fun Zone with games will ensure children enjoy their time as much as the adults. Attendees can even take a free photo with the San Diego Padres mascot Swinging Friar and the Pad Squad at the photo booth from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. both days. A chance to win a 2019 GLA Mercedes-Benz SUV or $25,000 will keep the festival’s excitement going until the very end. Only 1,000 tickets will be sold.
The Cardiff Greek Festival will be celebrated Saturday, September 7 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the grounds of Saints Constantine and Helen, 3459 Manchester Avenue, a half mile east of I-5 at the Manchester exit in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Free parking is available at the adjacent Mira Costa College. For more information, visit www.cardiffgreekfest.com.