Christopher Mavrikos serves up a delicious plate of lamb, greek salad, rice and bread during a previous Greek Fest. The annual event, held at the Greek Community Hall, celebrates Greek heritage over two weekends. (Black Press Media file photo)

Christopher Mavrikos serves up a delicious plate of lamb, greek salad, rice and bread during a previous Greek Fest. The annual event, held at the Greek Community Hall, celebrates Greek heritage over two weekends. (Black Press Media file photo)

Popular Greater Victoria Greek Fest shifts focus to food

Drive-thru allows annual cultural celebration to continue in Saanich amid coronavirus concerns

A pandemic won’t keep the Greek community from celebrating with food.

The annual Greek Fest that fills Elk and Beaver Lake parks is still a go this year for its usual weekends – Aug. 28 to 30 and Sept. 4 to 7. While there may be no cultural music and dancing, Greek Fest organizers are determined to celebrate, maintain continuity and raise funds for valuable community programs.

After working with Island Health, the team came up with a drive-thru Greek Fest.

Greek Fest funds programs such as hot lunch program for students in Greater Victoria and a sandwich program for those experiencing homelessness as well as language, dance and cooking classes at the community centre.

READ ALSO: KFC suspends ‘It’s Finger Lickin’ Good’ slogan amid COVID-19 pandemic

“I know a lot of people do come for the sense of community and sitting together enjoying entertainment and the weather, sharing a meal. That’s not going to be able to happen this year and that’s the case everywhere,” said Jim Koutougos, one of the organizers.

Food orders must be placed online at greekfest.ca with drive-thru pick up at the Greek Community Centre (4648 Elk Lake Dr.) in front of Commonwealth Place.

The Greek Heritage Project Museum will also be open for those who register for half-hour visits. Email the curator greekhpm@gmail.com to register.

The museum collects and displays items sharing the history and genealogy of Greek immigrants to Vancouver Island with more than 400 donated artifacts, curator Wendy Smylitopoulos noted. The museum also has regular hours – available by registration as well – on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


 

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Zac Economou prepares the Greek salads at Greek Fest Victoria in 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)

Zac Economou prepares the Greek salads at Greek Fest Victoria in 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)

Curator Wendy Smylitopoulos’s grandson participates in a scavenger hunt at the Greek Heritage Project Museum on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich. (Courtesy Wendy Smylitopoulos)

Curator Wendy Smylitopoulos’s grandson participates in a scavenger hunt at the Greek Heritage Project Museum on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich. (Courtesy Wendy Smylitopoulos)