37th Annual Yiasou Greek Festival brings the culture of Greece t - | WBTV Charlotte

37th Annual Yiasou Greek Festival brings the culture of Greece to Charlotte

37th Annual Yiasou Greek Festival brings the culture of Greece to Charlotte

The Yiasou Greek Festival returns to Charlotte with its 37th annual event on Sept. 4, 5, 6, and 7.


One of Charlotte's most highly attended cultural events, it is hosted by the parishioners of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral and takes place on the church grounds at 600 East Blvd. The family friendly

weekend features authentic Greek cuisine, homemade pastries, live traditional music and dancing as well as shopping and cultural exhibits.


The Yiasou Greek Festival received Charlotte Magazine's BOB (Best of the Best) Voters' Pick Award for Best Festival in 2013.


Father Michael Varvarelis, Dean and Holy Trinity Cathedral priest says of the festival and the famous Greek hospitality, "The Yiasou Festival affords a way for our hardworking people to share our traditions with a welcoming smile to our honored visitors."


Visitors can sample a variety of delicious Greek specialties, from gyros and spanakopita to roasted lamb and pastichio. Dessert alone is worth the trip; patrons can sip frappe or try homemade baklava and loukoumades, the popular honey-drizzled doughnuts. A drive-thru menu is accessible via Winthrop Avenue. Kid friendly menu options are also available.


Live entertainment is the centerpiece of the festival atmosphere and takes place on one indoor and two outdoor stages. The main tent is filled with the sounds of the mandolin-like bouzouki, and dance performances are scheduled throughout the weekend. Traditional Greek folk dancing is presented by Holy Trinity's youth, ages 5 to 25, who dance, sing and play the instruments of their ancestral villages. Festivalgoers are encouraged to join in and learn a few steps.


In addition to browsing a wide variety of specialty vendors selling everything from Greek art to jewelry and imported groceries, festival patrons can also enjoy Greek wine tasting or mingle with Spartan warriors in full armor. Members of the reenactment group "The Warriors of Greece" will be patrolling the festival grounds and are happy to pose for a souvenir photo.


Visitors who prefer to get away from the outdoor festival buzz can step into the Cathedral for a choir performance (Saturday only) or for a guided tour of its stunning Byzantine frescos and architecture. Built in

1954, the Cathedral was recently used in the filming of an episode of Showtime's "Homeland" series. More cultural treasures can be found indoors in one of the largest collections of reproductive ancient Greek artifacts in the South. In addition, Dr. Dale Grote, Professor of Classics at UNCC, will present lectures on philosophical topics.


Younger patrons will enjoy the Children's Playland with rides, face painting and concessions.

Festival admission is $3. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by a parent or guardian. School groups and senior citizen groups can make arrangements for free admission by contacting the church office at 704-334-4771 by Aug. 28.


For more information and a full list of festival attractions and menus, visit www.yiasoufestival.org

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