Come along as we explore the Pasadena Greek Fest, an annual tradition of over 55 years, to celebrate Greek Culture with music, food and dance!
It was originally held at St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Church, in Pasadena, California. But its currently hosted at the beautiful Santa Anita Race Track, just 40 minutes northeast of Los Angeles, which affords a great mix of outdoor and indoor areas.
They invite everyone, Greek and non-Greek alike, to enjoy a rich offering of Byzantine art, Greek Language presentations, shopping, and of course, a variety of delicious Greek food and pastries. They even have a Greek cooking demo.
I definitely recommend the Greek cheese, which we bought at this booth. Here we bought some delicious cheese and bread as well as refreshing mountain tea. It is said to help the immune system through its antioxidant and antibiotic properties.
One of my favorite booths was the olive oil tasting booth, sponsored by Bragg’s Organic Extra Virgin olive oil and presented by Mary Platis, co- author of ‘Cooking Techniques with Olive Oil’. We weren’t given bread so we could really smell and swish around the oil and actually taste the olives. It had a peppery feeling which Mary said was from the polyphenols, which are antioxidants. I’ll never look at olive oil the same.
Speaking of olives, this is a branch from an olive tree, which reminded me of the story of how Athens, the capital of Greece, got its name. Legend has it that in a competition to see who would be the patron god of the city, Athena and Poseidon came bearing gifts. Poseidon used his trident to strike, producing a salt water spring. But Athena won because she presented an olive tree.
Of course, I really came for the music and dancing. What you see and hear is one of my favorite instruments, it’s called the bouzouki.
They offered free dance lessons so of course I joined in. I love these Greek line dances. This is a Syrtos, to a 4/4 rhythm. Yet the footwork is in counts of 6. 126.96.36.199.5.6.
More experienced dancers were given the opportunity to have fun with more complex footwork. Like most international circle dances, they move in a counter clock-wise direction, with the leader all the way to the right of the line.
Thank you to Saint Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Church who continues to host the Pasadena Greek fest year after year so we can all can enjoy Greek food, music and dance!