The Fresno Greek Fest is back this weekend.
Yes, there’s Greek dancing, live music and tours of the Greek Orthodox church, including its ceiling painted with saints. But really, the food is the star of the show here.
The festival starts Friday, Aug. 26, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 28, at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2219 N. Orchard St.
With 56 years of the festival under its belt, the church has preparation of all that food down pat.
“We don’t really want to run out,” says festival chairman Peter Vallis. “Feeding 25-30,000 is a lot of work.”
estimated number of pieces of baklava that will be made for 2016 Greek Fest
Volunteers have been prepping desserts since June that were frozen and will be fresh baked for the festival, says baklava chairwoman Elaine Sotiropulos.
She estimates the volunteers will make 10,000 pieces of baklava, even more than last year.
Several other desserts will be available too, including a baklava sundae with baklava crumbled over ice cream and drizzled with honey. Plenty of loukoumades, little balls of deep-fried dough topped with honey and walnuts, will be for sale too.
“There’s always a line for those,” Sotiropulos says.
On some of our prep days, we might have 25 people here working all day.
Elaine Sotiropulos, baklava chairwoman
If dessert first isn’t your thing, there is a lot of other food to tackle in a “mega booth” outside and the main food hall indoors. The full menu is online at http://fresnogreekfest.com/menu.
It includes lamb shanks, moussaka, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), pastichio (a baked pasta dish with ground meat), gyros and Greek fries with feta, oregano and olive oil.
Several different kinds of souvlaki – meat on a stick – will be available.
Several Greek craft beers and wines that are new to the U.S. will be for sale at the festival.
And unlike some years when 100-degree heat has put a damper on things, temperatures are predicted to be in the mid-90s this weekend.
Admission is $6 for adults and people over 65 and 12 and under are free. People who bring a can of food to donate between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday get in free.
The festival runs from 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday, continues Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight, and runs Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.