The Memorial Day holiday weekend is almost here. If you’re looking for a family friendly way to celebrate, head on over to the annual Marin Greek Festival; a rich cultural celebration of food, drink, and all things Greek.
Celebrating its 42nd year at the Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Church in Ignacio, the festival attracts thousands of revelers from across the Bay Area who come to experience folk dancing, ethnic music, wine tasting, and, of course, authentic homemade regional cuisine.
There is so much to love about Greek food which blends ancient culinary tradition with proud cultural heritage. The process of making each dish is often handed down from one generation to the next; not by written word, but by repeated demonstration. Each cook may put her own spin on a classic recipe, adding a bit of this and a pinch of that to achieve the desired result. In the end, it’s all delicious.
I recently visited the church kitchen where the hard-working women of this orthodox congregation gather for an annual marathon baking session. In one morning they make enough baklava to satisfy hungry festival patrons for the entire weekend celebration–about 1600 pieces in all! Preparing food to sell at the festival is a familiar ritual for these ladies, who turn out authentic Greek dishes in mass quantity each year.
The three-day extravaganza kicks off this Friday, May 24th with the popular return of “Let’s Do Lunch Greek Style”; a café and take out service open from 11:30am-2:30pm offering a delectable array of options to choose from (think Gyros, Spanakopita, Moussaka, and Baklava). You can even place an advance order for pick-up that day. Click on this link for pre-order instructions and menu options: http://nativityofchrist.org/festival/friday_lunch/
From 5:00pm-10:00pm Friday night, festival goers can enjoy a special al a carte food and wine pairing at Food of the Gods, Fruit of the Vine, a unique Greek dining and California wine tasting experience, followed by dancing to the live music stylings of Mediterranean Soul. Admission is free. There is a $15 tasting fee to sample the wines.
Saturday and Sunday, May 25th and 26th, the fun continues from 11:00am-10:00pm with fabulous food and cooking demonstrations, children’s activities, a Greek Marketplace, live music, folk dancing, and more! Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors 65+. Children 12 & under are free.
The Greek Orthodox Church is located in Ignacio, 1110 Highland Drive. Free parking and shuttle service are available at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus at the end of Ignacio Boulevard.
Visit the festival website for full details and directions: http://nativityofchrist.org/festival/