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My big fat Greek Festival 

For Halifax Greek Fest’s 30th year of food, drink, history and entertainment, here's your insider’s guide to the party.

Greek Fest wants you to eat, dance and generally flip out this weekend.
  • Greek Fest wants you to eat, dance and generally flip out this weekend.

So you want to smash some plates and yell "Opa!" eh? Well you're in luck. Greek Fest is back for its 30th year and is looking better than ever. But there's so much more than drunken cheers and the breaking of crockery. Here are some by-the-numbers deets on what it takes to make this Halifamous event.

20,000
how many people are expected to attend the four-day festival

$200,000
the cost of putting it on

$150,000
how much the festival needs to profit in order to break even for their year of programming, like the operation of the Greek school

80
number of students at said Greek school

5 years
it took to outgrow its original space in the Orthodox church's downstairs hall—the event now occupies over 20 outdoor tents

10,000
pork souvlaki skewers will be sold over the festival's four days

100%
of Greeks who know the steps to that dance. It's practically in their blood

4,000
number of Greek Plates that will be eaten. It's a "best of" plate of all the Greek delicacies, including moussaka, spanakopita, potatoes, tzatziki and more. Wear elastic-waisted pants, people

3,000
how many chicken pitas will be sold

2,000
the age of the traditional dance, the kalamatiano. (Yes, it's that stereotypical Greek dance you're imagining in your head right now.) It's a winding dance done in a circle, going forward and backward holding the hands of your neighbours. There'll be impromptu lessons throughout the weekend, so come with your dancing shoes

1,435 km
how far the house band, the appropriately named Poseidon, travels each year from Ottawa

15 minutes
it takes to make a single souvlaki stick, from cubing the locally sourced pork to hand-skewering to seasoning to grilling

How to Greek Fest like a pro:
• Take a tour of the church and grounds. The archbishop of the Canadian Greek Orthodox Church has described the property as the nicest of the community's 72 churches.
• If you have kids: come around 1pm when there are plenty of other rugrats running around to keep your kid occupied so you can kick back and relax with some grub.
• If you don’t have kids: come around 4pm to beat the supper lines and avoid the kids. Fewer kids running around = less beer spilled.
• If you want to get in on the plate-smashing fun hang around later on in the evening on Saturday and Sunday. Word has it, that’s when the good times roll.

Language tips:
Basic
Moussaka is pronounced MOO-se-ka. Kind of like ‘Jessica’ but with a different beginning.
Spanakopita is pronounced spa-na-KO-pita

Intermediate
Please: Parakalo
Thank you: efcharisto (the cha is a “ ha" sound)
How are you: ti kanis?

Expert
Opa is used but if you want to fit right in, say “Gia Mas” (pronounced ya mas) is the English equivalent of “Cheers!” and means, “To our health!”


Halifax Greek Fest
June 11-14
St. George's Greek Orthodox Church 38 Purcells Cove Road
$5/$8 (weekend), greekfest.org

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