The Savannah Greek Festival is rounding out its 64th year, and from Oct. 9-11, the St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church invites you to “get your Greek on. No experience required.” The festival has become a big event that everyone in Savannah comes out to celebrate, and according to Jamie Newman, President of the Parish Council, people in the community have been working since January cooking, baking, and putting it all together. “It’s really an ongoing process,” Newman says, “but the whole community supports us, and volunteers who have come in the years before have had such a good time that they want to come back and help.”
The festivities will be held at the Hellenic Center on 14th West Anderson Street, and there you will find thousands of others reveling in the food, music, dancing, and heritage of the great Greek culture. Entry is completely free for the first two days from 11am to 4 pm, and from 4 – 9 p.m. a $2 donation will be requested. Entry is also two dollars on the last day.
There will be authentic Greek music all day, every day of the festival by “The Grecian Echoes”, as well as dancing by different groups of all ages.
Zoe, the adult troupe will perform Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday at 12:30, 2:30, 5, 6, and 7:30 p.m. .
Goya, the teenage troupe will perform on Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday at 7 p.m.; and Saturday at 4 and 7 p.m.
Ta Pethia, the children’s dance troupe, will perform on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 6 p.m.
Tours of the recently renovated church will also be offered, so embrace the opportunity to see one of Savannah’s most unique and beautiful examples of architecture while also learning about the Eastern Orthodox Christian religion. The guided tour and lecture times are Thursday and Friday at 4, 6, and 8 p.m.; and Saturday at 1, 3, 5:30, and 8 p.m.
However, the main event for many is simply catching up with friends over heaping plates of delicious Greek food! In the spirit of “Kali Orexi!” which means “Good appetite”, get ready to expand your palates and learn more about the culture through your taste buds. While there are a few items that would be familiar to those who don’t have a Greek background, such as gyros and Greek salads, there’s an entire world of new and delicious foods waiting to be explored.
Not sure what spanakopita, dolmades, baklava, pastitsio, or kourabiedes are? You’ll have to show up to find out! But we promise you they’re all phenomenal.
There will also be combination plates for sale at a reduced price, and the menu is posted online with the opportunity to order ahead of time at 912-236-8256, or fax your order form to 912-236-7321. You can also carry out your food at the drive through if you have somewhere else to be, and this year the drive-through hours are extended from 11-3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 11-6 p.m. on Saturday.
Along with all the events at the Hellenic Center, a Greek agora and gift shop will be set up, so you can find some piece of the festival to take home with you.
“This festival is a tradition to us,” says Newman. “It’s the 64th year, and it’s something we enjoy doing. We want everyone to come and experience our culture.”