Jiannis Voularinos and Dionysia Efentaki of Elkelam perform Greek dance during Saanich’s Greek Fest Sunday. The event started Friday and ended Sunday evening. It will resume Friday Aug. 30 and continue through Monday, Sept. 3.

Saanich celebrates Greek culture

Blue skies, Mediterranean temperatures and the architecture of the Greek Orthodox Church on Elk Lake Drive provided the perfect ambiance for Greek Fest 2017 held over the weekend in Saanich.

“Doing these kinds of festivals is a custom in Greece,” said Jim Koutougos, Greek Fest chairperson. “We are trying to bring a little piece of Greece here to Victoria. “It has been something we have been doing for 16 years now, and as long as people keep coming, we’ll keep doing it.”

In fact, for a moment or two Sunday afternoon, it felt like being on the shores of the Aegean Sea, not the Pacific. Various Greek specialties were on the menu and the music underscored this feeling, especially when Elkelam from Athens performed traditional Greek dance Sunday afternoon to rapturous applause from hundreds.

‘They are fantastic,” said Koutougos.

Greek Fest also offers opportunities to learn more about Greek history and culture. Visitors could tour the church that serves the local Greek community and several displays offered insight about the history of Greeks in the Victoria area.

In keeping with Greek traditions about hospitality, the event also featured musicians and performers from other cultural backgrounds.

“It’s all part of that community theme,” said Koutougos. “Everyone is here, everyone is having fun.”

Here is the good news. Greek Fest continues next weekend, starting Friday and continuing all the way through Monday.

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