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Annual festival this weekend
Several decorative religious items hang in the gift shop at the church, which will play host to an upcoming Greek festival Oct. 16 and 17. - photo by Autumn McBride

If you’re going

• What: Forsyth County Greek Festival

• When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 16 and 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 17

• Admission: $1 per person; parking is free

• Contact:

Anyone who has never been to a traditional Greek festival should mark their calendars for Oct. 16 and 17 as Saints Raphael,
Nicholas and Irene Greek Orthodox Church holds its annual celebration.

“We are basically inviting all of North Georgia into our living room to visit and have dinner,” said Father Barnabas Powell, pastor of the Bethelview Road church.

“We are all about hospitality. That is one of the most important things to us.”

Powell said he will be giving tours of the church, Forsyth County’s only Greek Orthodox Church, and answering questions for those interested in learning more about the faith and beliefs.

“There are many fascinating aspects to our religion and we are eager to share those with the community,” he said. 

The festival, which is in its sixth year, features a combination of authentic Greek cuisine, dancing and music, as well as art and jewelry displays. There will also be a children’s play area monitored by adults.

Festival chairman David Roberts, a four-year member of the parish, expects as many as 5,000 people to attend the festival.

“We hope people will feel like they are experiencing what it is like to be in a traditional Greek village and to enjoy an authentic and delicious Greek meal with us,” Roberts said.

The menu includes traditional dishes such as gyros, spanakopita, domathes, souvlaki and tiropita. Desserts include baklava, kourambiethes and melomakarona, among others.

All desserts are prepared by women from the church or members of other Greek Orthodox churches in metro Atlanta.

“You really get a lot for your money, plus you get the experience of tasting delicious Greek food,” Roberts said.

While the festival promises a good time, Roberts said it is also a way for parishioners to reach out to the community.

“We are all about serving God and our neighbors, and this is a fun way to show the community who we are and what we are about,” he said.