46th annual festival draws a large crowd to Santa Barbara’s Oak Park for celebration of all things Greek — from pastries to dessert
Santa Barbara celebrated Greek culture and traditions over the weekend at the 46th annual Greek Festival in Oak Park.
The free gathering wrapped up Sunday evening with sunny skies, festive activities and big crowds.
The two-day event offered toe-tapping music, live entertainment, dancing and other family-friendly happenings.
Authentic food is an important part of the festival.
Traditional Greek desserts like baklava, melomakarona and kataifi — as pastry made of shredded phyllo dough and smothered with honey syrup — were some of the mouthwatering pastries available throughout the weekend.
“We have perfected our recipes,” said Andriana Kolendrianos, chairwoman of the pastries at the festival and a member of St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church. “We are proud of what we have to offer.”
Kolendrianos has lived in Santa Barbara since 1971, and she has organized the pastries at the Greek Festival for at least 40 years.
Crowd favorites, she said, include the walnut cake and the Greek yogurt cake.
“They are unique, and those are items that are uncommon to find,” Kolendrianos said. “They are popular, and we love them ourselves.”
A la carte specialties included gyros — seasoned meat, onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce on pita bread — and moussaka, Greek salad, spanakopita, tiropita and stuffed grape leaves.
Attendees also enjoyed specialty drinks, Greek coffee, beer and wine.
In addition, the festival featured vendors selling jewelry, clothing, arts and crafts, and booths providing educational information about Greece.
St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, at 1205 San Antonio Creek Road, has sponsored the event since its inception. As it always does, the parish held its Sunday services at the park.