Now one of the largest Greek Festivals in CA, the Fresno Greek Fest draws visitors from across the state and beyond. Always the last weekend before Labor Day, it begins Friday evening and runs through Sunday evening. Each year the parishioners meet at the first of the New Year to begin planning improvements and crafting the game plan that will feed and entertain a crowd that has grown to over 24,000 in attendance.
While most visitors would agree, “it’s all about the food”, the festival truly offers something for everyone. A good starting place is the docent-led tour of the St. George Greek Orthodox Church. Recently renovated stained glass, murals, and iconography are stunning and it is truly one of the architectural and cultural treasures of Fresno.
The Main Hall features a variety of Greek standards such as moussaka, spanakopita, and lamb shanks, while the Mega Tent has offerings to please any palate. Gyros, feta fries, souvlaki, loukaniko (a homemade Greek sausage made with orange peel-delicious!) plus Greek salad, appetizers and so much more make for difficult decisions. But leave room for the pastries! There’s a myriad of choices- from traditional Baklava to Galaktoboureko,( a filo-wrapped, custard filled piece of heaven) or the “can’t eat just one” loukoumades (a puff of golden dough topped with nuts and honey) along with a cup of Greek coffee!
Mindful of the potential for valley heat streaks, shade and misters are in abundance. Food booths have been streamlined and offer multiple Greek delicacies, cutting down on time spent in lines. Parents have a wide variety of play area choices for children and even a convenient beverage booth close by.
Then it’s time to dance off the delicacies! Fresno’s Greek Fest features two bands-the HoHLax trio, direct from Athens, Greece playing authentic acoustic and bouzouki music on the patio and the Olympians, an enormously popular Greek band playing Greek folk, classic and Modern Greek music. Dancing demonstrations will help you get into the rhythm and everyone dances with everyone!
Did we mention shopping? The Agora, our outdoor Greek market offers art, jewelry, clothing, collectibles and so much more. A second Agora, featuring hard to find Greek ingredients, is located in the Main Hall. In ancient times, the agora was the central marketplace in most Greek city-states. Typically the agora was located in the center of town. Governmental buildings, such as the council building and courts, surrounded the agora in Athens. The agora was more than a marketplace. People came to the agora to discuss politics, meet with friends, as well as buy items from the market.
The Taverna, a popular meeting place for the younger crowd, has a wide selection of Greek spirits-wines, beers and of course, Ouzo! Grab a refreshment! Watch a cooking demonstration, listen to a Byzantine chant or just people watch. It’s a wonderful way to make new friends or reconnect with old ones!
Great care goes in to planning for the comfort, entertainment, and safety of festival goers. 24-hour security, cooling areas, and thoughtful choices for entertainment help festival goers to come be “Greek for the Weekend” and to invest in the community!
Proceeds from Fresno Greek Fest are dedicated to food pantries, food banks, soup kitchens and other charitable destinations.
The event takes place on August 25 and continues until the 27th. Admission is only $6. Seniors (65+) and kids under 12 are free. For more information about discounted tickets, the schedule, and volunteering, please visit:
**Festival hours are Fri: 4p – Midnight, Sat: 11a – Midnight, Sun: 11a – 6p