Monday, May 21 , 2018, 2:10 pm | Partly Cloudy 66º

 
 
 
 

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Santa Barbara’s Greek Festival Features Not Just a Taste of Greece But a Whole Menu

With food, music and dancing, 43rd annual benefit for St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church continues Sunday at Oak Park

Volunteers prepare fire-grilled lamb, beef and chicken at Santa Barbara’s 43rd Annual Greek Festival on Saturday. The festival, put on by St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, continues Sunday at Oak Park. Click to view larger
Volunteers prepare fire-grilled lamb, beef and chicken at Santa Barbara’s 43rd Annual Greek Festival on Saturday. The festival, put on by St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, continues Sunday at Oak Park. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The smell of grilled chicken, lamb and beef gyros with tzatziki sauce filled Santa Barbara’s Oak Park on Saturday as locals lined up for traditional Greek food to support St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church.

A volunteer-run event, the 43rd Annual Greek Festival featured authentic recipes, homemade desserts, dance lessons and live entertainment.

The main attraction was the food with a smorgasbord of dishes, including moussaka (a layered casserole of eggplant, potatoes and seasoned ground beef), lamb chops, souvlaki (grilled skewered pork tenderloin), Greek pizza, tiropita (three cheeses wrapped in phyllo) and herbed rice.

“The lamb is delicious and everybody always loves it,” said Cherif Knoury, a Santa Barbara resident and 30-year festival volunteer. “It’s a good community event because to plan the day it takes a lot of people to come together.”

Attendees lined up to enjoy Greek coffee with numerous popular pastries, such as famous baklava, walnut cake, short butter cookies and yogurt cake.

In addition to the food and drinks, spectators shopped at jewelry and art vendor booths.

Musicians brought ethnic sounds to the stage for an evening of dancing with appearances from Greek dance performers.

“There’re tons of entertainment and dance groups,” said Patti Stathis, a singer in The Village Greeks Sing! “There’s music constantly, plenty of food and Greek wine.”

She said the social gathering reminded her of when she visited Greece nine months ago.

“Everyone is sitting under the shaded area as if they are in a Greek village,” Stathis said. “In Greece, people sit at the restaurants with their friends all night long. You can go anywhere in Greece and see people all over the cafés socializing.”

The festival offered visitors a chance for a serious prize this year: A raffle to win a trip for two to Greece.

The free, two-day festival continues from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Oak Park, 300 W. Alamar Ave.

“This is one of the largest and best Greek festivals I have been to,” Oxnard resident Rocco Belmonte said. “The gyro is the best.”

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Those attending Santa Barbara’s 43rd Annual Greek Festival learned traditional Greek dances performed in a semi-circle. Click to view larger
Those attending Santa Barbara’s 43rd Annual Greek Festival learned traditional Greek dances performed in a semi-circle. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

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