I love October. One main reason is because it’s time for the Greek Festival at St. Raphael, Nicholas & Irene Greek Orthodox Church.
How funny to think that when we moved here 23 years ago to what felt like the country (Domino’s didn’t deliver and a call to Atlanta was considered long distance), we would one day have a full-blown Greek festival, visited by thousands of people, in Forsyth County.
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 $1 — free for children 12 and younger.
Except for all of that road construction causing delays along Bethelview near Highway 9, it’s not difficult to get to the event.
If you’ve never attended a Greek festival, invite some friends, pack up the kids and head over there.
First of all, it’s just a blast. There are people dancing, playing music, singing and just having a great time.
You can sample the food while watching authentic dancing by adults and children from Greek churches in Atlanta, as well as the one right here at home.
There is also a Greek village where you can go shopping. They always have interesting food products, including olive oil and olives.
My jewelry-addicted friends love all of 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 unique gifts.
Besides music, dancing, food and shopping (did I mention there are plenty of Greek wines you can try), there are activities for small children as well. Trust me, there’s a lot to keep everybody, young and old, thoroughly entertained.
I spoke with Johnny Melts, the event chairman. He said that last year about 6,000 people attended and that this year they hope to have as many as 7,000.
He told me that this year they’ve added a 5K Toga Trot beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday. Melts said the entire reason for the festival is to share their culture and faith.
“We really want people to come and enjoy themselves and just feel welcome,” he added.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Greek Orthodox religion, take time to go on a tour of the charming local church. There’s so much history here and it’s fascinating to learn the origins.
The people I know from this church are deeply religious and passionate about their faith. There’s something contagious about that.
After talking to Johnny for a while, I had to ask about his last name. It just didn’t sound like some of the more typical Greek last names with which I was familiar.
Johnny explained that his Greek heritage is long, and there’s a story behind his name.
“When my paternal grandfather came to Ellis Island they felt his name needed to be changed so it went from Yani Miltiathou to John Melts,” he said.
I hope you will consider attending this year’s festival. The atmosphere is fun and energetic. It’s a party you don’t want to miss.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.