Christopher Mavrikos serves up a delicious plate of lamb, greek salad, rice and bread at Greek Fest. The annual event, held at the Greek Community Hall, celebrates Greek heritage with food, music and dancing over two weekends. (Saanich News file photo)

Christopher Mavrikos serves up a delicious plate of lamb, greek salad, rice and bread at Greek Fest. The annual event, held at the Greek Community Hall, celebrates Greek heritage with food, music and dancing over two weekends. (Saanich News file photo)

Festival brings a taste of Greece to Victoria

Greek Fest runs over the next two weekends across for Commonwealth Place

Shouts of ‘Opa’ and the scent of roasting lamb will again fill the air beside Saanich Commonwealth Place over the next two weekends.

Greek Fest runs Aug. 25 to 27 and again Sept. 1 to 4 at the Greek Community Centre, 4648 Elk Lake Dr. Admission is free to the 15th annual event that runs each day from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

“It’s a normal custom in Greece, where each community, town, village, church, will put on a festival where they invite neighbours over for food and drinks and dancing,” said Jim Koutougos, Greek Fest chairperson. “It’s very common, it happens all over Greece every year.”

The sights, sounds and tempting tastes of Greece will be on display over the next two weeks.

“If the weather co-operates it’s a little piece of Greece in Victoria. We have live entertainment almost the whole day every day. And If you’re hungry we have all that delicious food for people to enjoy,” said Koutougos.

There will be a wide array of authentic Greek dishes including souvlaki, spanakopita, baklava and loukomades.

“People have to come just to try the lamb. We do the lamb on the spit, traditional Greek style. You can’t find that anywhere in Victoria, even the Greek restaurants don’t do it because it takes too long.”

The more than 20 different groups to perform over the seven days of Greek Fest include one coming all the way from Athens.

“But it’s not all Greek performers. We open up the stage to all different cultures,” said Koutougos, adding there will be acts from Portuguese to Polynesian, along with Polish, Scottish and Irish.

And the rich Greek history will also take a prominent role, with displays highlighting the contributions of those such as seaman Juan De Fuca (Ioannis Focas) – the first Greek to arrive in B.C. in 1592.

“We have a heritage museum we’ve been working on with some exhibits there for people to have a look at. We’re doing a heritage project where we’re getting the history of Greeks in Victoria and Vancouver Island,” said Koutougos.

The celebration even extends to within the walls of the Greek Orthodox Church on the site.

“We’ve been diligently working on all the art on the walls. All that has been hand painted by nuns in Greece – big spectacular murals and icons.”

Koutougos says the celebration is extended over two weeks to make it easier on the volunteers, as well as give more time for the community to join in the festivities. And of course that means shorter lineups, so you don’t have to wait for your souvlaki.

While Victoria’s Greek community only numbers about 1,500, that number will swell over the next two weekends, with about 20,000 enjoying last year’s festivities.

“We have lots of people who come to be Greeks for a day,” said Koutougos.

editor@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Lively traditional dances are just some of what you can expect to see at this year’s Greek Fest, which runs Aug. 25 to 27 and Sept. 1 to 4, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.                                 Saanich News file photo

Lively traditional dances are just some of what you can expect to see at this year’s Greek Fest, which runs Aug. 25 to 27 and Sept. 1 to 4, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. Saanich News file photo

Just Posted

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death of North Saanich likely first in B.C. for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $10.25 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $8.65 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
The five most expensive homes for sale in Greater Victoria

A roundup of luxury estates currently on the market

The Greater Victoria School District and two retired teachers are named as defendants in a lawsuit alleging that a student was sexually abused in the early 2000s. (Pixabay photo)
Former Saanich student files sexual abuse lawsuit against school district, retired teachers

Lawsuit claims student was groomed, abused by retired teacher

(Black Press Media file photo)
Mechanical issues blamed for Saanich car fire

‘Nothing untoward’ suspected, no injuries reported, firefighter says

Sidney's Beacon Wharf
Pontoon company piqued at prospect of public-private partnership around Sidney wharf

Seagate approached to submit proposeal for public-private partnership

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help new Island baseball team look picture-perfect

Nanaimo NightOwls say legally blind team photographer is making history

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy rushed to emergency 3 times after ingesting drugs in Chemainus public spaces

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

Most Read