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Cumming Greek Festival turning 10
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Forsyth County News

I love fall weather and all of the fun festivals that happen at this time of year.

One of our favorites in October is the Cumming Greek Festival at St. Raphael, Nicholas & Irene Greek Orthodox Church. This marks the event’s 10th anniversary, so it’s sure to be even more special.

If you’ve never been, hopefully I can convince you to make the trek over to the church on Bethelview Road.

First and foremost, the food is homemade, authentic and fantastic. Those who know me, know I don’t say that often.

Parking is free and admission is a $1, and free for children 12 and younger. This year, visitors will park at West Forsyth High School (the Kelly Mill entrance) and then take a five-minute bus ride over to the church.

The only visitors who will be allowed to park at the church are those who have a valid handicap parking permit.

Don’t let the short bus ride deter you. This was necessary due to the vast turnout and is the same system used by many other popular festivals.

Last year, the festival drew about 8,000 people and organizers expect to top that next month. Wow! It’s truly amazing how much this fun event has grown.

If you have never attended a Greek festival, invite some friends, pack up the kids and head over there.

First of all, it’s just a blast. The entire time, there are people dancing, playing music, singing and just having a great time. 

You can sample the food while watching authentic Greek dancing by adults and children from Greek churches in Atlanta, as well as the local one. 

There is also a Greek village where you can go shopping. They always have interesting food products like olive oil and olives.

My jewelry-addicted friends love the jewelry selections, and there are plenty of accessories for the “fashionistas” out there. There are also some beautiful ceramics and other artifacts.

One of my favorite finds a few years ago was a simple silver cross from the little store inside the church.

This is a great place to do some early Christmas shopping for some unique gifts for friends and family.

Besides music, dancing, food and shopping (did I mention there are plenty of Greek wines and beers you can try), there are activities for small children. They include a petting zoo and bounce house.

Trust me, there is plenty to keep everybody, young and old, thoroughly entertained.

If you are unfamiliar with the Greek Orthodox religion, take time to go on a tour of the charming church. Tours will be every hour on the half hour.

There is so much history behind this religion and it is fascinating to learn the church’s origins. The people I know from this church are deeply religious and passionate about their faith. There is something contagious about that.

I spoke with Father Barnabas Powell, the pastor, and he said they are all geared up and excited about what promises to be the biggest festival yet.

“Our main reason for having the festival is to share our hospitality with the community,” he said. “We love Forsyth County and love welcoming people from here and all over north Georgia to our church.”

Barnabas went on to say that 90 percent of new attendees come to the church because of their experience at the Greek Festival.

The church has been busy building a brand-new fellowship center, which Barnabas hopes will be completed by the time of the festival.

“We have the wonderful problem of having no room,” he said. “We are at 110 percent capacity.”

As soon as the festival is over, Barnabas said the church will begin a capital campaign to build a facility that can seat 500 people.

“We are thrilled with the growth we are experiencing and the continued support we receive from the community,” he added.

I hope you will consider attending this year’s Greek Festival. The atmosphere is fun and energetic. It’s a party you don’t want to miss. Opa!

 

Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at contact@adlenrobinson.com.