Jiannis Voularinos and Dionysia Efentaki of Elkelam perform Greek dance during Saanich’s Greek Fest last year. (Black Press File)

Greek Fest brings taste of Mediterranean to Victoria

Annual celebration offers 15 music groups, folk dances and mouth-watering cuisine

  • Aug. 17, 2019 12:00 a.m.

Now in its 18th year, Greek Fest 2019 promises food, entertainment and fun, including traditional Greek music and dance.

Admission is free and the family-friendly festival takes place over two weekends; Aug. 23 to 25 and Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.

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The Victoria Hellenic Centre, where the event takes place, opens its doors at 11 a.m. and shuts at 10 p.m. Visitors will be able to spot the centre by the large tents raised specially for the occasion outside.

Good food is a focus at Greek Fest with a mouth-watering array of desserts, pastries, souvlaki, spanakopita, baklava and loukomades. To keep the party swinging, 15 groups, including one all the way from Athens, will provide live music and visitors can watch Greek, Middle Eastern and European folk dances.

This year the festival will raise funds for the Tillicum hot lunch program, which provides food for underprivileged school children in the Victoria area. Partial proceeds will also go to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation and other local causes.

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Last year saw 23,500 Victorians attended the festival and organizers say they expect even more visitors this year. Saturday, Aug. 23, is designated Seniors Day and will secure over-60s a 10 per cent discount on all food.

The Heritage Exhibit also returns looking at the history of Greece and Greeks in B.C., with the achievements of Ioannis Focas, better known as Juan de Fuca, celebrated.

The story of Greek seaman Kapiotis who settled at Fort Victoria and married the daughter of the Chief of the Songhees, will also be explored among other examples of Greek contributions to west coast life.

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The organizers hope the festival will celebrate the ideals of family, friendship and “philoxenia” – generosity towards strangers. For further information call 250-727-1580 or visit greekfest.ca. The Victoria Hellenic Centre is located at 4648 Elk Lake Drive (beside Commonwealth Pool).


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