The entrance, and the front of St. George's Greek Orthodox church
Yesterday I attended my very first Greek Fest. I’ve lived in Fresno for some twenty-plus years, and this Greek festival has been going on for 51 years, so I think it’s about time! My mother was originally going to come, and asked me to join her, so even though she was not able to make it, I had it firmly implanted in my mind that I was going to go. Luckily, the hubby was agreeable to come with me, so we made it a date.
First thing I noticed was the amount of cars parked bumper-to-bumper starting several blocks away…..“Oooooh, this is going to be BIG!” went through my little brain, as we searched for a place to plant our little Toyota. I got dropped off at the entrance, and I waited for hubby……a long time (poor guy!). But while I was waiting, a very nice couple walking in front of me suddenly turned around to me and asked if I had a ticket. I was taken aback as I stammered, “Uh, no….not yet…..”, when the man held one out and offered me one of their extra ones. Thanks!! That’s the second thing I noticed: the people (and I mean all of them) were extraordinarily nice!
Since the church was the first thing in front of us, hubby and I decided to go inside and see what it’s like. Oh. My. Goodness. WOW!
St. George's Greek Orthodox church
Truly awe-inspiring. We were given permission to photograph (for which I am eternally grateful!), and as I did, I couldn’t help but feel like suddenly I wasn’t in Fresno, anymore. I felt transported to an ancient Greek Isle, or to some far-off equally ancient European city. I was compelled to be quiet, reverent, and mindful of its magnificent beauty. I could have sat down in one of the pews and meditated, soaking it all in for who-knows-how-long, but we were hungry, so we went on to where the food was.
Pure heaven on plates!
Oh, boy!! A-MAZE-ing!! Now, my husband is from the Middle East, and the food is similar, but I don’t think there is anything better than this! Pita, marinated vegetables, salads, feta cheese, shish-kebobs, grape leaves, hummus…..oh, and baklava! I have never been a fan of baklava, but I ate a piece here this evening that definitely converted me! My mission now, that I am home, is to find out the wonderful seasonings, herbs and spices that make Greek food so delicious. I can barbeque chicken, I can toss together vegetables with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but there is something unique that they add that makes their food truly special…..so wonderful and good, you can’t get enough! But the nice thing is it’s healthy, and light enough to not make you feel heavy and bloated afterwards, so you could dance to the music later! Opa to that!
We may not have danced, but we watched others dance, which was really fun. The music (performed by the Olympians) was really wonderful. Even if you’re too shy to dance, like me, you can’t help but wiggle to the music in your chair. It’s great!
Yes(!), we saw Kopi, and he let me take his picture!
Later on after the sun went down, the dancers from the church, as well as a group from Modesto danced in their traditional dress. It was too dark to photograph, unfortunately, but it was exquisite. In the darkness, I could imagine cliffs and ruins in the background, with cobblestones beneath their feet. Beautiful and breath-taking.
Thank you to the Greek Community and St. George’s for this wonderful Hellenistic experience. Here’s to many more! Opa!