St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church hosts Greek Festival

The+Holy+Branch+of+Olive%21+booth+shared+their+story+with+their+wood+products+to+the+attendees+at+the+Greek+Festival+on+Sunday%2C+Oct.+24%2C+2021%2C+in+Camarillo%2C+CA.+Photo+credit%3A+Kylee+Rogers

The “Holy Branch of Olive!” booth shared their story with their wood products to the attendees at the Greek Festival on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Camarillo, CA. Photo credit: Kylee Rogers

By Kylee Rogers

St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church hosted the 42nd annual Greek Festival at Freedom Park to appreciate Greek Culture through dance, food and vendors.

The Oct. 22-24 event hosted two dance group performances: the 11 children of the Thavmatakia dance group and the Greek Dancer group from the Greek Mediterranean Steak and Seafood restaurant.

The latter group performed traditional folklore dancing, balancing wine glasses on their heads and executing high kicks around volunteers from the crowd. The volunteers were also taught a kick-step movement.

Event Committee Member Mike Panesis explained his take on the Greek Festival.

“The Festival is an expression of my heritage and a culture that is both ancient and influential,” said Panesis. “We love to share our history with the community, but we also love to show how a dedicated group of volunteers can come together to do something amazing.”

Two brothers play with toy Japanese Katanas purchased from a booth during the Greek Festival  on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Camarillo, CA.
Two brothers play with toy Japanese Katanas purchased from a booth during the Greek Festival on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Camarillo, CA. Photo credit: Kylee Rogers

Proceeds from the event went to the building fund of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Camarillo. The Camarillo church is the only Greek church located in Ventura County.

Demetea Dimopulos, a mother who attended the festival, spoke about the importance of having her family attend the festival.

“It is nice to have the kids listen to the music and be reminded of where they are from and eat some of the foods that we don’t make at home,” said Dimopulos.

Bounce houses and cornhole games were set up in the grass for families to use after eating their authentic Greek dishes. All the food was made fresh at the venue by sponsors and volunteers.

Booths gave other cultures the opportunity to share their entrepreneurship with the community. Owner of Holy Branch of Olive! Nadar Habash, for example, sold Bethlehem Olive Wood sculptures that celebrated Christ.

“What it means to me, is it brings part of my heritage to the public,” said Hobash. “This is who we are. This is Palestine Catholic. When this goes to the American public, it shows what we can do.”

More information on the Greek Festival can be found here.