Greek Festival is back! Yes, we know what you want

Look, we’re not stupid. We know you see a headline with “Greek Festival” in it and the first thing you’re thinking is food. And who can blame you? What kind of person isn’t obsessed with the taste salvation that is Greek food? We don’t know. Frankly, we don’t want to know.

But here’s the deal, there are other things happening at the festival. So, we’ll make you a deal. Let us give you a shot of some of the food from last year’s festival to gnaw on—how’s about we start with what appears to be acres of delicious, tender, succulent rotisserie chicken—while we talk about those other things.

Photo by Kelly Smiley.

You good?

OK, the festival takes place at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, located at 5761 E. Colorado St., the Greek Orthodox church you zoom by on PCH either going to or away from Bellflower Blvd. Now, there doesn’t figure to be a lot of zooming going on around the church parking lot because the festival, now in its 70th year, is very popular and cars figured to be stacked like lucious feta, spinach and filo dough in spanakopita. One way to avoid it—the parking mess, not the spanakopitan glory—is to take advantage of the free parking and shuttle rides from the VA Hospital parking lot at Bellflower Boulevard and Anaheim Road.

How you doing? You good? OK, let’s continue by talking a bit about culture aaaaaand, we’re losing you…

Photo by Kelly Smiley

By the way, you can get those fries with feta on top, creating what is known as in Greek culture as Feta Fries.

Now, as for culture, the festival will feature a Cultural Pavilion where there will be travelogues and cooking demonstrations and historical films, one about Alexander the Great who, as you know, was originally from Macedonia which is also home to Hillas Beer, in our opinion, the best Greek beer out there.

Hillas is a great accompaniment to dancing which, at any Greek Festival, is a major component. There will be dance performances, dance lessons and plenty of opportunities to simply get up and dance, something the Hillas might help you gain the courage to do.

OK, you’ve been good, so now the food. There will be lots of it. You know the drill. There will be Souvlaki—chicken skewers marinated in lemon, olive oil, and Greek spices and charbroiled over an open flame—and Dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice and beef) and gyros (pronounced “yee-ros”) and those sweet, little lamb chops that taste like meat candy. Behold!

Photo by Kelly Smiley

When you’re through with the main course, and dancing, you’ll want to jump into line for some dessert because Greek desserts are insane whether it’s pasta flora (jam tarts) or baklava or galaktoboureko (layers of golden brown crispy filo filled with creamy custard, bathed in scented syrup).

Still, if this festival is anything like one’s in the past, the longest line will be for loukoumades, basically, Greek donut treats drizzled with honey and sprinkled with nuts and cinnamon. We were at the Greek festival at St. Katherine’s in Redondo Beach a few weeks and people waited, gratefully, in line for an hour for a container of these beauties with nary a word of complaint.

Greek Donuts cooking in oil at the Greek Fest in Long Beach Sunday September 2, 2018. Photo by Kelly Smiley

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Then again, maybe there was. We don’t speak Greek.

Long Beach Greek Festival takes place Saturday, Aug. 31 to Monday, Sept. 2 at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary located at 5761 E. Colorado St. Entry is $5. For more information, click here.

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Steve Lowery began his journalism career at the Los Angeles Times, where he planned to spend his entire career. God, as usual, laughed at his plans and he has since written for the short-lived sports publication The National, the L.A. Daily News, the Press-Telegram, New Times LA, the District and the OC Weekly. He is the Arts & Culture Editor for the Post, overseeing the Hi-lo.
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