Schenectady’s popular Greek Festival, hosted by St. George Greek Orthodox Church, is a go.
The three-day festival of food, live music, dancing, church tours and more, is slated to run from Sep. 10-12 at the Hellenic Center on Liberty Street.
“It’s the full ride with the big tent, the band, the dancers [and] the food stations,” said Athena Pagnotti, the festival’s public relations and marketing co-chair.
As was the case for many community events, the festival was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.
“Last year was the first year in 45 years that we did not have a consecutive festival here,” Pagnotti said.
This year, organizers say they’ll be following COVID-19 safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Schenectady County Health Department. They’ll also be offering to-go options when it comes to food.
“Once folks come through the line and make their selections, it will be handed to them in a very nice to-go package. So they can take the food and sit under the tent in the open air, enjoy the entertainment and walk around and see the market or go in for a church tour; or if they’re more comfortable just picking up and leaving, that’s going to be convenient for them as well,” Pagnotti said.
As usual, the list of foods to choose from is lengthy. There’ll be moussaka (layers of eggplant, potato and sauteed ground beef topped with cream sauce), lamb shanks, spanakopita (spinach and feta cheese between layers of phyllo dough) and other traditional Greek dishes.
Starting at 5 p.m. Friday and throughout Saturday and Sunday, there will be live Greek music by Prometheus. The St. George Hellenic Dancers will also perform traditional folk dances throughout the festival. The Agora Marketplace will be open, offering up arts, crafts and religious items as well as specialty foods like grape leaves and Kalamata olives. The St. George Bookstore, new to the festival this year, will feature children’s books and gifts.
“For the members of our St. George community,” Parish Council President Brian Goodale said, “this event is about family. When you come to our festival, we hope you will feel like you are stepping into our home filled with delicious food, great music and wonderful entertainment. Immerse yourself in our culture and our religion and go ‘Greek for a day.'”
Church tours will also be offered throughout the festival, and in commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, the church will hold a memorial service on Friday, Sep. 10 at 5:30 p.m., and a supplication service on Saturday, Sep. 11 at 6 p.m.
Festival hours are as follows: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Sep. 10 and Saturday, Sep. 11, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sep. 12.
For more information, visit saintgeorgegoc.com.