Entertainment & Events

The Cardiff Greek Festival

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The 32nd annual Cardiff Greek Festival returns this weekend. Held at the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church this Saturday and Sunday, September 11th-12th, the event transforms the area into a beautiful Greek village complete with delicious food, live music, energetic dancing, traditional costumes, and rich Greek culture.You don’t have to go far for a great piece of Baklava or enjoy some traditional Greek music and activities. Heck, you don’t even have to hop a plane or do a virtual tour of Athens.

This weekend, for a mere admission price of $3.00 (kids under 12 free), you can have the time of your life and feel like you have actually sailed away to Greece when you drop by the 32nd Annual Greek Festival. Where? Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church located at 3459 Manchester Ave. in Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

Enjoy all kinds of great activities from learning to dance a few Greek steps to singing Greek songs from famed Nektarious. Or enjoy rockin’ to the popular Greek band The Olympians or enter the raffle to win a new Mercedes.

In the midst of all this excitement, you will start to think you truly have stepped into a quaint Greek village thanks to the church grounds that have been turned into something truly special.

The annual event has become quite the scene over the years and always attracts thousands of people from all over San Diego and beyond. Free parking is available at adjacent Mira Costa College.

Besides the cuisine, shop ‘till you drop at the open air marketplace aka a bazaar with fresh produce and sample Greek deli specialty food items, Greek imports, pottery, fine jewelry, artwork, and an array of treasures at YiaYia’s (Grandma’s) Attic.

Pig out on Greek cuisine such as appetizers like Tiropita (cheese phyllo pie), Dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat), Taramosalata (Greek caviar dip), Rizogalo (Greek rice pudding), and Loukoumathes (honey-dipped Greek donuts). A la carte meals feature Souvlaki (shish-kabob cooked over charcoal), Spanakopita (spinach phyllo pie), Pastitsio (Greek lasagna), Dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice), Pilafi (Greek rice), and Salata (Greek salad with olives and feta cheese).  In addition, enjoy freshly brewed Greek coffee with many famous Greek pastries in the Kafenio (coffeehouse) while being entertained by live music.

For the spiritual side, church tours will be held each day at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. where visitors may view mosaics and Botticino marble. Father Degaitas will explain the iconography adorning various architectural pieces of the Church, which were produced under the direction of Bruno Salvatori; a world recognized master of mosaics. From its unique stained glass windows that feature early Byzantine symbols, to the golden dome which portrays Christ the Pantokrator, the church represents one of the finest works of Byzantine art in the world.

A live auction featuring many valuable donated items will take place at 5 p.m. both days. The drawing for the annual raffle of the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sedan will be held on Sunday, September 12 at 7 p.m. Raffle tickets are $10 each and limited to 7,500 tickets sold. Winner need not be present.

“We are pleased to have you join us in this celebration of our Greek culture. We extend our hospitality and invite you to taste our food and drink, experience our music, learn about our religion and our culture, and have a wonderful time,” says Peter Fellios, parish council president. All proceeds benefit the church building fund and charities throughout the world. Through hard work and dedication, Saints Constantine and Helen has assisted many organizations from Africa, to the Haiti relief effort. It is the church’s goal to give back through celebration as well as philanthropy.

Call (760) 942-0920 for more info.

San Diego resident for over 10 years, I now call this beautiful city home. Originally from the Bay Area, I'm a California girl at heart. I love the outdoors, fitness, food, and a good craft beer (from San Diego of course).

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