Dancers at the 2024 Greek Festival | Photo: Stephanie Gerson

After a four-year hiatus, the return of the Santa Barbara Greek Festival for its 51st year was highly anticipated and, in turn, well attended. The food-centric event, organized by the Santa Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, was held at Chase Palm Park for the very first time this past weekend on June 28 and 29. The new oceanside location was fitting for the festival, helping attendees symbolically transport themselves to the islands of Greece.

Volunteers show off the Greek salads at the 2024 Santa Barbara Greek Festival | Photo: Stephanie Gerson

Food stalls operated by volunteers sold Greek eats to fundraise for the church, with offerings including freshly tossed Greek salad, flaky spanakopita, a Greek lasagna dish called pastitsio, and more. There was no shortage of sweets either, with lengthy lines for honey-soaked loukoumades and powdered sugar-dusted kourabiedes. Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. sponsored a booth pouring draft beers, and volunteers led Greek wine tastings. For anyone who wanted to recreate the festival’s lineup of dishes at home, copies of the church’s cookbook The Greek Feast: A Collection of Family Recipes from St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church were sold at a booth by the festival’s entrance.

Attendees experienced no shortage of activities for all ages. A dedicated kids’ corner kept the festival’s youngest visitors entertained with lawn games, crafts, and face-painting by Lily Sky Face Painting. Performances by those from all over Southern California occupied the Costa Frangos Memorial Dance Floor, the focal point of the festival dedicated to Costa, a late member of Saint Barbara. L.A’.s The 4 Greeks played traditional Greek music during the event while dance troupes including The Taverna Dancers from Redondo Beach and The Golden Greeks from Northridge congregated on the dance floor for traditional Greek dance performances.

With thousands flocking to Cabrillo Boulevard for all things Greek, it is likely that the festival has found its new home for the years to come.

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