Arts & Life, Events

72nd Long Beach Greek Festival celebrates culture with first in-person event in two years

Consisting of live music, dancing, shopping and a variety of Greek food stands, the 72nd Long Beach Greek Festival returned to in-person for the first time in two years as attendees looked in awe at the celebration of Greek Culture during Labor Day weekend.

“There’s no words,” Dino Syrengelas, co-chair of the Long Beach Greek Festival, said. “After two years of being unable to host the festival in person, it’s been great to be able to have a sense of normalcy.”

Hosted by the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, the Long Beach Greek Festival has been celebrated as a drive-thru event over the last two years due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

But this time, visitors had the opportunity to participate in several events, including going inside the church to light a candle in honor of a lost loved one.

“The Greek Festival allows us to show Long Beach what we’re all about,” said Syrengelas. “We get to share our heritage and our culture with the community.”

Traditional Greek foods are served at the Long Beach Greek Festivals, including souvlaki kalamaki, a skewer with either pork or chicken served with a side of pita bread and vegetables.
Traditional Greek foods are served at the Long Beach Greek Festivals, including souvlaki kalamaki, a skewer with either pork or chicken served with a side of pita bread and vegetables. Photo credit: Christal Gaines-Emory

Visitors from all over California attended the festival to celebrate and support the Greek community.

Attendees were able to listen to traditional Greek music, courtesy of the band “The Olympians,” while members of the audience participated in the traditional Greek dances, including the Hasapiko dance, a Greek folk dance that resembles a sword performance.

Vendors offered traditional Greek beverages like kafé, krasi and ouzo, while others sold foods including gyros, baklava and souvlaki (kalamaki).

The Long Beach Greek Festival is held every year over the Labor day weekend. For more information about the festival, visit http://www.lbgreekfest.org/.

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