Orange County’s 37th annual “A Taste of Greece” festival will be held on June 26-28 at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church (4949 Alton Parkway, between Culver Drive and Jeffrey Road, Irvine, CA 92604). I went last year with my mentee from Big Brothers Big Sisters and we had a blast!
More than 12,000 guests are expected to attend the three-day festival, which will feature traditional Greek cuisine, wine tasting, live music, authentic Greek dancing with lessons and boutique booths reminiscent of the Plaka, a well-known picturesque historical neighborhood of Athens.
Festival hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 26; noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 27; and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 28.
Festival admission is just $3 per person with free admission on Saturday, June 27 from noon – 4 p.m. for seniors older than 65 years. Children under the age of 10 are admitted free (with parents or an adult) throughout the three-day festival.
Free festival parking will also be available, with complimentary shuttle buses transporting guests from public parking sites in Irvine.
Greek cuisine and hospitality will be the focal points as the festival will feature authentic recipes for traditional Greek dishes, delicious pastries and a variety of beverages, highlighted with a wine “Taverna,” offering Greek wine and beer.
The traditional Greek menu will include Chicken, Lamb Chops, Greek French Fries, Gyros, Pastichio (Greek lasagna), Loucanico (Greek sausage), Spanakopita (spinach and feta pie), Dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), Saganaki (Greek brandy-flamed cheese), Loukoumathes (Greek doughnut holes), Greek Salad, Calamari and more.
There will also be a Greek coffeehouse set up by Portola Coffee Lab to serve Greek and American coffee drinks in a traditional Plaka setting.
The Philoptochos, the church’s philanthropic group, will bake around the clock during the weeks leading up to the festival to prepare traditional Baklava and other exquisite pastries.
“As Orange County’s largest Greek Orthodox congregation, we are delighted to host a festival that offers an opportunity for the community to experience authentic Greek dining, wine, music, dancing and entertainment,” said Father Steven Tsichlis, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Priest.
“This year’s festival, our 37th annual, will offer something for everyone with a variety of Greek-themed activities, and tours of the Church to view the beautiful sanctuary that contains Christian artwork done in mosaic patterned after ancient prototypes that are unique in Orange County.”
A family-friendly affair, the festival will offer free Greek dance lessons throughout the weekend, and also feature boutique shops, a variety of games and a full-scale carnival.
Event attendees can also enter an opportunity drawing for the chance to win one of three premiere prizes, with a Grand Prize of $1,000 and 2nd Prize of a 50” Flat Screen TV, 3rd Prize of a Dell Inspiron Laptop Computer, and 4th Prize of a GoPro Hero Camera.