Welcome to Oakland Greek Festival
On behalf of the Ascension Cathedral I would like to welcome you to the 45th annual Oakland Greek Festival. We are proud to live in a country which allows us to preserve our rich Hellenic culture and still be Americans. Each year we offer this celebration to the Bay Area so that you may experience a culture that is not only historic and profound, but a culture which celebrates life.
Greece is a very small country, only 10 million people, but her culture has spread over much of the world. As here in Oakland and the Bay Area, there are Greek communities in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. These communities are united in a common heritage and a common faith, Orthodox Christianity. This is what we would like to share with you.
As you attend our festival you will experience the sights, sounds and tastes of a proud people whose cultural history goes back over 4,500 years. Our members have worked very hard to prepare authentic foods, costumes, dances so that you can become Greek for a short while. We invite you to participate in this celebration of Hellenic Culture. Please ask any of our members for any help or assistance you may have.
We thank you for your support and hope you enjoy our heritage and philoxenia (hospitality).
With our Lord’s blessings,
Fr. Thomas J. Zaferes
Proistamenos, Ascension Cathedral
It is that time of year again when the wonderful aromas of Souklavia and Loukoumades waft through the air and the sounds of traditional Greek music and shouts of OPA! resonate in the hills of Oakland. The Oakland Greek Festival 2017 is now in full preparation and we are in need of our most important ingredient...YOU! What would Oakland’s Greek Festival be without the many people from our community who come to enjoy all the treats for the ears, and eyes and stomach? It is with great joy and excitement that we invite you to experience our Greek culture. The Festival’s founding committee put together an event in the hopes of keeping the Traditions and their Religion alive and strong in the hearts of their children. Little did they know that over 40 years later this festival would be a stage to share our vibrant culture, savory food, and trusted religion with our greater Bay Area community. With this Festival, we are bringing Greece to YOU!
Some say that the Greeks are more hospitable than can be imagined. We rarely let you leave our homes without third or even fourth helpings. It is this giving spirit that makes our Festival come alive! What makes our festival the Real Greek Experience is the sight of our young and old working side by side, our children filled with joy to dance for you, and our experienced yiayias (grandmothers) offering you a taste of traditional spanakopita (spinach pie) and their favorite pastry recipes from their homeland.
Food is an important part of the Greek Culture. We eat when we are happy, we eat when we are sad, and we eat just because…but the most important thing is that we eat together.With all of the food we offer, you will simply have to eat your way from one end to another. We have put our heart, soul and favorite Greek seasonings into our many delicious foods for you. From gyros and lamb sandwiches to wine and Frappe beverages, we want you to taste Greece!
Music drives the Greeks in every aspect of our lives. From the upbeat, toe-tapping sounds of the Bouzouki, to the soothing yet powerful Hymns of the Church, you will find each sound intoxicating. Greece will be evident throughout the Festival with our live music that will enchant you and bring out the inner Greek dancer, or you may choose to watch one of our many Greek dancing groups perform traditional village dances.
With everything that we do in our lives, the world of the Greeks revolve around our rock…The Greek Orthodox Religion. The heart and soul of our Festival is the Cathedral itself. Both literally and metaphorically, the Cathedral serves as the center foundation of our religious community. We invite you to tour our beautiful Cathedral and marvel at the wonders that it offers. With church tours regularly, you can learn those things you always wanted to know about our church.
What makes this Festival so special is that you will have an opportunity to experience the best of Greece with its natives, your friends and neighbors. We invite you to celebrate our own Greek culture with us while enjoying the breathtaking views of the bay! We hope that you leave feeling a little more “Greek” than when you arrived! Opa!!
Efharisto poli (Thank you very much),
Paul T. Fakaros and Sofo Kyriakopedi
Chairmen, Oakland Greek Festival 2017
Paul Fakaros, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Sofo Kyriakopedi