Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Here’s everything you need to know about GreekFest’s two-weekend celebration in Victoria

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Show up with a rumbling stomach that only the best Greek food will satisfy!

Back for their 22nd year is Victoria’s GreekFest — a celebration of Greek cuisine, mesmerizing dances, and fascinating ethnic and cultural performances at the Greek Orthodox Church and Community Centre.

It occurs over the course of two weekends (the more the merrier!), so you can get your fill this weekend, from Friday, August 25th to Sunday, August 27th as well as Friday, September 1st to Monday, September 4th.

GreekFest
(GreekFest)

Victoria Buzz spoke with one of the organizers, Yiannis Lapidakis about what visitors can expect this year and some surprises for returning guests. 

He highlighted entertainment as one of the key contributors to peoples’ return and buzz around the event. 

This year is extra special for GreekFest lovers as it will be the first time many of the performers return after a two year absence due to the pandemic.

Lapidakis mentioned one group in particular called ELKELAM — special guests from Athens, and long-time attendees to GreekFest.

“[ELKELAM has] been in the festival since 2012, minus the recent two years because of COVID,” he said.

“They’re really good.”

You can take a look at the schedule for the full list of performances and their dates and times!

GreekFest
(GreekFest)

Another main feature is the Greek food!

As Lapidakis described, dishes will feature delicacies such as their famous lamb on the spit, which is not a common dish you can find at every grocery store or restaurant.

“It requires a lot of preparation…we cook it all day.” Lapidakis said.

Other delicacies include Greek salad, souvlaki, spanakopita, baklava, and loukoumades — small donut balls that are deep fried and dipped in honey syrup. 

“It’s like an explosion of honey in your mouth.”

No matter what you try, it’s all prepared with authenticity and care, allowing visitors to savor the tantalizing flavors of Greece and give guests the best experience possible!

GreekFest
(Loukoumades / GreekFest)

Although the emphasis is on Greek culture, visitors can expect to see a wonderfully selected mix of cultural performances from across the globe!

Their schedule features other performance groups, such as a Mexican dance group, a Filipino group, a Cuban music group from Vancouver, Irish dancers and much more.

“The main focus is Greece…but we also want to make it an event to bring people from different backgrounds together,” Lapidakis said.

“We always have some sort of representation from many different cultures that are found in Victoria.”

Additionally, guests can wander the on-site museum and learn about the history and stories of Greek immigrants as well as tour the Greek Orthodox Church at no added cost.

“You don’t have to be spiritual to enter…come and see it, it’s very interesting,” Lapidakis said.

Lapidakis shared that as an immigrant himself, this event keeps him close to his family and history — a story he is thrilled to share with others and give them the chance to connect with deeper understanding and interest.

Keep in mind that you’ll need cash for this event — it’s free to attend, but the food venues don’t accept cards. 

If you wish to order takeaway with cards, you can do so on their website, which will go live on Wednesday, August 23rd, and is available to a limited number of customers. 

GreekFest Victoria

  • Where: 4648 Elk Lake Drive
  • When: 
    • Friday, August 25th to Sunday, August 27th — 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
    • Friday, September 1st to Monday, September 4th — 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

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