Saturday, October 5, 2013

Atlanta Greek Festival 2013

Opa! The 2013 Atlanta Greek Festival is this weekend...going on right now!

Atlanta Greek Festival, Dancers
Atlanta Greek Festival, Dancers
I was fascinated with Ancient Greece even as a young child, and then had the wonderful opportunity to live in Greece for more than two years—when I was 19-21 years old—which was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I was 19...how could it not be incredible?!


Atlanta Greek Festival, Cathedral
Atlanta Greek Festival, Cathedral
Since returning to the U.S., I've tried to attend the local Greek Festival wherever I lived, which translates into having visited the Atlanta Greek Festival many, many, many times. And it's been great fun every time! 


Atlanta Greek Festival, Cathedral
Atlanta Greek Festival, Cathedral
The Atlanta Greek Festival offers visitors quite a lot to see and do, including tours of The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation. It's one of the most beautiful cathedrals I've visited, and I've visited a lot!

The dome ceiling, pictured above, is 58 feet in diameter and the mosaic of Christ seated on a throne was created using approximately 3.5 million pieces of tile, each the size of a fingernail. It's beyond-words beautiful! The photo doesn't show the scale. If I remember correctly, it's about 100 feet high!


Atlanta Greek Festival, in the Cathedral
Atlanta Greek Festival, in the Cathedral
Cathedral tours are offered throughout the duration of the Festival and there are ample volunteers, presumably from the church, in the Cathedral lobby to answer questions. It's really one of the best-staffed tours I've been on. All are knowledgeable and quite friendly.


Atlanta Greek Festival, in the Cathedral
Atlanta Greek Festival, in the Cathedral
Photographs are allowed in the Cathedral during the Festival, just be sure to be respectful of the person leading the tour, as well as respectful of the fact that this is a place of worship. 

Speaking of which, the church serves more than 1,000 families in the Atlanta area. And the Cathedral has a seating capacity of 600 and standing room for another 400...it's certainly substantial.


Atlanta Greek Festival, in the Cathedral
Atlanta Greek Festival, in the Cathedral
The complex, located on Clairmont Road off of Interstate 85, is substantial in itself. On the 20-acre tract of land are the Cathedral (construction completed 1965, consecrated 1970), a school, library, ballroom, youth center, gymnasium, and administrative offices, to name a few. It's a well-known landmark in the City of Atlanta, which has grown substantially during my years in Atlanta.


Atlanta Greek Festival, Lykion ton Ellinidon Atlanta Chapter
Atlanta Greek Festival, Lykion Ton Ellinidon Atlanta Chapter
This year, for the first time, is an exhibition—a "Cultural Room"—that showcases Greek heritage and contributions of Greeks in the United States. The exhibit is presented by Lykion Ton Ellinidon Atlanta Chapter, which was founded in 1995. The parent organization dating back to the early 20th Century. 

A lovely lady named Helen told Barry and me about the organization and shared with us a little about the artifacts on display and upcoming events.


Atlanta Greek Festival, Lykion Ton Ellinidon Atlanta Chapter
Atlanta Greek Festival, Lykion Ton Ellinidon Atlanta Chapter
The exhibition has quite a few truly amazing and intricately fabricated traditional costumes. There's lots more to see, but I was so fascinated with the craftsmanship of the costumes that I didn't explore too deeply into the other aspects of the exhibit, but definitely will if I make it back this weekend.

By the way, the organization and the Cathedral are partnering to bring a screening of SMYRNA: The Destruction of a Cosmopolitan City 1900-1922 to the Cathedral on Thursday, November 7. 

There are a lot more Greek culture activities in Atlanta than you may realize. I encourage you to explore the opportunities.


Atlanta Greek Festival, Dancers
Atlanta Greek Festival, Dancers
There's a lot going on at this Festival...including lots of dancing! Dancing, and dancing lessons, take place throughout the Festival. Be sure to pick up a program on your way in so you can plan to be at the performance stage when they begin. 

I guarantee you'll be clapping along with the dancers, or tapping your feet at the very least. 


Atlanta Greek Festival, Dancers
Atlanta Greek Festival, Dancers
As I mentioned, there's a lot to do at this festival. The dancing, the shopping, the exhibit, the Cathedral tours, a children's section with colorful rides, music—lots of music, and an incredibly wide selection of pastries and food! 

And be sure to stop by the ice cream tent for a Baklava Sundae! I ate every bite of mine, barely able to resist the urge to lick the bowl! There are some things we just shouldn't do in public.

On the Festival food menus are: souvlaki (I almost always have one of these, if not two!), kapama, pastitsio, moussaka, gyro, Greek salad, Greek pizza, and LOTS of pastries and other sweets! Arrive hungry!


Atlanta Greek Festival, Dancers
Atlanta Greek Festival, Dancers
Hands down, this is yet another fantastic Atlanta Greek Festival! Thank you and kudos to all the Festival organizers and volunteers...I know it's a LOT of work to put on an event of this size and duration. So, know that your work and commitment to bringing an exceptional experience to Atlanta and her tourists is greatly appreciated.

Σας ευχαριστώ!

Now, head over to the wanderlust ATLANTA Facebook Page for more photos...

2 comments:

Alan walker said...
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George said...

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