Popular Orange festival, ‘like being in Greece’
The popular annual Odyssey Greek Festival held at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church will begin Aug. 31 and run through Labor Day, filling the grounds at 480 Racebrook Road with Greek music, food, dance and culture.
“We just open our doors and welcome everyone to come in and be Greek for four days,” said one of the organizational leaders, Anne Faraclas. “It really is like being in Greece as you enter our property.”
There’s a lot to see at the festival — including the breathtaking church sanctuary of the Byzantine-style church; presentations related to Greece; artwork; the legendary “Treasures and Junk” white elephant sale (founded by Faraclas’ late mother, Helen); and entertainment — but “the food is our focal point. People eat their way through this festival,” Faraclas said.
Faraclas urged people to “come with an adventurous spirit” when thinking food, and try something they haven’t before.
Many of the dishes are known by now to many who attend — the lamb, the moussaka, gyros — but there’s much more. She recommended from the “the gourmet Mezze Grill” at the festival, the sajanaki, a flaming cheese with ouzo and lemon that’s served with bread and olives.
There’s all kinds of pastry made by parishioners, as well as children and adults dancing in traditional Greek garb.
Parking and admission are free, so it’s hard to calculate how many thousands attend the four-day event, Faraclas said.
The festival, in its 38th year, is from noon to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and from noon to 7 p.m. Monday.
For more information, visit www.saintbarbara.org.