News Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Greek culture comes alive during event

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — A taste of Greek culture was on display during the 31st annual Greek Festival at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church Sept. 12 and Sept. 13.
The popular event featured family friendly activities including music, food, games and dancing. “I took a lesson this time around,” said Encinitas resident Peter Berman as he exited the stage. “Last year I just shuffled my feet and ended up bumping into a lot of people.”
One of the favorites of the festival is the authentic Greek food. A complete meal was available for those with a hearty appetite consisting of souvlakia, spanakopita, pastitso, dolmathes, pilafe and Athenian salad with olives and feta cheese; or barbecued shish kabob, spinach pita, Greek lasagna, stuffed grape leaves with rice and Greek rice.
“I always leave room for the pastries,” said Vista resident Sharon Watkins. “Where else can you get this kind of galatoboureko?” she asked. Watkins said she enjoys the custard pastry with a cup of traditional Greek roast coffee.
In addition to the festive atmosphere, Watkins said she liked having the opportunity to expose her children to another culture. Shane, 10 and Nathan, 13, said they took a tour of the church but drew the line at dancing. “I liked the colorful tiles and windows inside (the church),” Shane said. “But I told my mom I wasn’t going to dance no matter what.”
Church tours were held on both days of the festival. “I’ve always been curious about what’s inside,” said Bill Petersen. “I don’t think I ever would have stopped by to look if it weren’t for the festival.”
According to organizers, the event drew 6,000 people in 2008.