The Pensacola Greek Festival is a staple of the Pensacola Bay area’s signature fall festival lineup, mixing southern hospitality with Hellenic culture and cuisine. If you are unable to travel to Greece this year, come home to 1720 West Garden Street and join the Pensacola Greek family! Live Greek music, youth folk dancing, and church tours will make you feel right at home during the second weekend in October.
One of the definitions of Hellenism is admiration of Greek ideas, style and culture. That makes all of us Philhellenes – lovers of all things Greek! The Pensacola Greek Festival is a wonderful opportunity for the Greek community to share their culture, traditions, heritage, faith, food, dance and the fun-loving spirit of Greece right here in our hometown.
The 55th annual Greek Festival will take place on October 10-12. This 3 day event draws upwards of 30,000 people from across the Southeast. Festival hours are 11:00 am to 10:00 pm on Friday and Saturday and from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Sunday. Admission is always free.
Live Greek music and traditional folk dancing will be among the entertainment highlights of the weekend. Youth dancers dressed in traditional costumes representing various regions of Greece will perform dance sets throughout the weekend, and the dance floor is open to all between youth sets. The popular Kostas Kastanis band will be back again to play traditional and modern Greek music throughout the weekend.
On the menu this year will be traditional roast lamb, baked chicken, dolmathes, moussaka, pastitsio, spanakopita, tiropita, and Greek salads. Last year we added lamb shanks and we will be offering this dish again. All of these dinner items will be served inside the hall.
One significant change to our pastry fans is that all of the Greek desserts will be sold outside under the main tent across from the gift shop. There will be two separate dinner lines inside the hall and this should shorten the lines to purchase dinner items.
The outdoor taverna (between the church and the hall) will feature the popular gyros, souvlakia (kabobs) and sausage wraps as well as chicken tenders for the kids, Greek fries cooked in olive oil, and of course calamari.
Many of these specialty food items are prepared by the parishioners and by some of the popular Gulf Coast restaurants owned by church members. This year we will publish more of our favorite recipes on our website, in our weekly email bulletins, on our facebook page, and in the printed program.
The Greek Gift Booth offers imported gift items such as authentic jewelry, cookbooks, t-shirts, and other popular items. Also by the gift booth will be the Greek specialty items such as Frappes (iced coffee Greek style) and both American and Greek hot coffee.
Although food and music are crowd pleasers, they are not the only attractions offered at this festival. Visitors will be able to attend church tours lasting approximately thirty minutes and see the architectural design and beauty inside a traditional Orthodox church. These church tours give a brief overview of the Orthodox Christian religion itself, along with some history of the faith and culture. Members of the church choir will sing Byzantine hymns at the conclusion of each tour.
Each year a portion of the festival proceeds are donated to a local charitable organization. This year the Festival will support United Cerebral Palsy of Northwest Florida, which has provided quality care for persons with developmental disabilities in Northwest Florida since 1953.
Nonperishable food items will be collected during the festival for donation to Manna Food Bank.
Volunteers are needed to help with food preparations, setup on the weekends prior to the festival and throughout the festival weekend. Volunteers can receive email updates with festival news by subscribing to the festival email list on the festival website.
To stay up to date on the latest news about the Greek festival:
- Visit the festival website: http://www.pensacolagreekfestival.com/
- Subscribe to the email newsletter on the website.
- Become a Fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pensacolagreekfest)
- Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @pcolagreekfest
Presale tickets are available for sale prior to the festival in denominations of $5 each – these are great for gifts to friends and clients and can be used in lieu of cash at every booth.
Tickets, cash and checks are accepted at all cash registers. Festival goers who want to use a credit or debit card can purchase tickets onsite at the front entrance of the Hellenic Center. These tickets are valid at all cash registers. An ATM is also available onsite for a small charge.
Patrons should utilize street parking in the nearby neighborhoods. Those with special needs can be dropped off in front of the hall while their driver finds a parking space.
For more information, including menus, recipes, schedule of events, photos and videos visit the festival website at www.pensacolagreekfestival.com.
850-433-2662 (Church office)