Belmont Greek Festival Set for Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 1-3
Belmont, CA – Opa! Whether you shout this joyful Greek expression or not, you will be welcomed with plenty of warm Greek hospitality, as well as an abundance of fabulous Greek food and entertainment, at the 42nd Annual Belmont Greek Festival in the mid-Peninsula, Labor Day weekend, Saturday, September 1, through Monday, September 3, at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross, 900 Alameda de las Pulgas (corner of Ralston Avenue), in Belmont.
The three-day Belmont Greek Festival is expected to draw nearly 20,000 visitors for the homemade Greek meals, specially-prepared desserts, nonstop entertainment and fun children’s amusement area, according to festival organizers.
“We love to offer our hospitality and share the Greek culture with our guests,” said Festival Chairman Michael Malekos.
“When we shout, ‘Opa,’ it’s a way of saying that we’re happy, and we’re grateful to God and to everyone around us for the joy that we’re feeling,” Malekos said.
“It also means we’re excited about what we’re doing. It’s kind of like saying, ‘Woo hoo!’”
Festival menu items that are sure to bring on shouts of joy include barbecued lamb chops (with special Greek seasonings), souvlakia (Greek shish-kebab), spanakopita (spinach and cheese stuffed inside layers of filo pastry) and dolmades (grape leaves wrapped around ground beef and rice).
There will also be traditional homemade Greek pastries such as loukoumades (doughnut holes covered with honey), baklava (layers of nuts and filo pastry soaked in honey), kourambiedes (crescent-shaped butter cookies covered with powdered sugar) and galactobouriko (filo pastry filled with custard and covered with syrup).
On the plaka, or central plaza, visitors will enjoy continuous music from a Greek band so they can dance the traditional kalamatiano, tsamiko, zeimbekiko and other Greek dances.
In addition, award-winning folk dance groups will perform throughout the weekend in their colorful, hand-made costumes.
In an outdoor amphitheater reminiscent of the ancient theaters of Greece, children and adults alike will enjoy a special theatrical production spotlighting the heroes and villains of Greek mythology. The popular Festival Singers and Folk Ensemble will also perform Greek folk songs in the amphitheater.
Also, children’s entertainer Andy Z will take the amphitheater stage to present his award-winning show featuring imaginative songs, stories, dances and colorful characters.
The Fun Zone children’s area will offer games, rides, bouncy castles, crafts and more.
Tours of the award-winning Byzantine-style church, including the recently-installed mosaic iconography, will be given throughout the weekend, and the Holy Cross Choir will sing during the first church tour on Sunday.
Other festival highlights will include the agora (flea market), art, clothing, jewelry and gift boutiques, cooking demonstrations, religious icons and a bookstore.
The Church of the Holy Cross supports many charitable groups throughout San Mateo County, and each year, the church donates a portion of the festival proceeds to several local charities. Previous recipients of festival donations have included Samaritan House, Interfaith Network for Community Help (INCH), Children’s Advocacy Council, local schools and churches and the Belmont mayor’s choice of charity.
The hours of the Belmont Greek Festival are Saturday, September 1, and Sunday, September 2, from Noon to 10 PM, and on Monday, September 3, from Noon to 8 PM. The Fun Zone for children is open Noon to 7 PM Saturday and Sunday, and closes at 6 PM on Monday. The agora (flea market) closes at 6 PM all three days.
Admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for seniors and youth ages 13-17. Children 12 and under are admitted free, accompanied by a parent or guardian.
For more information, continue exploring this website, or call (650) 591-4447. And don’t forget to tell them, ‘Opa!’
How to Feed a Festival
The Belmont Greek Festival proudly makes all meals by hand using fresh, authentic ingredients. What does it take to feed our thousands of cherished guests?
The Festival by the Numbers . . .
600 lbs. filo pastry
420 lbs. butter
850 lbs. sugar
350 dozen eggs
more than 500 lbs of butter
a mere 210 gallons of honey
1500 lbs. chicken
1300 lbs. lamb (whole, chops & shanks)
1000 lbs. squid (kalamari)
600 lbs. flour
900 eggplants for moussaka
more than 500 lbs. of feta cheese, and too many lemons to count!
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