Mediterranean flavor: Santa Barbara Greek Festival off to great start

Above, Thavma, a Greek dance group, performs Saturday during the Greek Festival at Oak Park. Below, religious icons attached to the Evil Eye, meant to protect from negative energy, are offered for sale at the festival.  NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS

Above, Thavma, a Greek dance group, performs Saturday during the Greek Festival at Oak Park. Below, religious icons attached to the Evil Eye, meant to protect from negative energy, are offered for sale at the festival.
NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS

The 42nd annual Santa Barbara Greek Festival opened in Oak Park Saturday and by all accounts it was a success.

The line to the gyro booth stretched long near the entrance, the dance stage was crowded with viewers and participants, the ouzo flowed freely, the food court was packed, the pastry stall tried not to run out of goods, and the sun beamed down, creating a sense that yes, this could all be happening in the Mediterranean.

The economic troubles in the home country didn’t affect this two-day fest that acts as a fundraiser for Santa Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church.

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Gyro Worship – There’s more to the 37th Annual Greek Fest than just the food

It’s easy to take the Greek Festival for granted sometimes. Even in the economic downturn, the fest managed to do well, if not better than ever, last year.

“Our resolve last year was it was going to be the best and the biggest and the one with the most profit,” George Mamalakis, manager of the ever-popular gyro booth, says. Luckily, their hopes came true, and all proceeds went to the Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox church.

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