You can experience the spirit and flavors of Greece at the Greek Festival of Chandler, an outdoor event featuring traditional Greek foods, Greek products, live Greek music, costumed folk dancing and a Kids Fun Zone.
The Details: A Taste of Greece - Greek Festival of Chandler
Friday, September 29, 2017 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday, September 30, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, October 1, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church
2716 N. Dobson Rd. in Chandler.
See this location on Google maps.
Admission is $3 per person, kids under 12 are admitted free. No pets. Pay as you go for food and merchandise. All proceeds benefit St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church and related philanthropic activities/community charities. Check the website for information about free admission opportunities.
Parking: There is a limited amount of handicapped parking available at the church. Get there early! For everyone else, parking is available at the lot at Seton High School at 1150 N. Dobson Road. A free shuttle will transport people to and from the event.
Five Things To Know Before You Go
- All the food vendors are volunteers and the food sold is prepared from scratch by church volunteers. Outside, try the Laganaki (if you love cheese), Lamb Gyro, and/or Greek Fries.
- Before you fill up outside, make sure you go into the cafeteria and see the complete meals being offered there. There are shaded areas to sit outside, and it is air-conditioned inside.
- The Kid Zone was not all that exciting when I attended, and there was an extra charge. I'd focus on the entertainment at the festival, which children should enjoy.
- Bring dollar bills for the young dancers!
- See the entertainment schedule for Greek dance instruction sessions.
Greek Food, Indoors at the Agean Cafe
People who never wander inside the Aegean Cafe miss one of the best parts of the festival. Full plates of amazing Greek food, at very reasonably prices. I tried the spanakopita. It was freshly made, delicious and more than enough for two people. This gentleman was properly attired for the event!
One of the reasons the Greek dances are perfect for festivals as that some of them are relatively simple to learn and the audience can participate. Some dances are line dances, so you don't need a partner.
Greek Food: Saganaki and More
Saganaki is named for the pan in which the food is cooked, a sagani. While most people think of saganaki as fried cheese, other foods can be prepared in this manner.
The flaming saganaki at the Greek Festival of Chandler, made me (as well as the Chef) want to yell, "Opa!" If you need to know how many calories are involved, you probably shouldn't be eating it!
Eating Greek food can be intimidating if you haven't been exposed to it before. The names are unusual and the ingredients are often different than what we are used to. Which one is the spinach pie? Isn't there a dish that's similar to lasagna? What's the meat and veggies on skewers all about? What's a gyro? I love saying baba ganoush, but will I like eating it?
This volunteer at the Greek Festival of Chandler grills fresh meat for the festival goers. Souvlakis, kebobs, gyros - grilled meats are popular for many Greek recipes.
Dollars for Dancers
Festival guests throw dollar bills at the littlest dancers performing at the Greek Festival of Chandler. They are so cute -- when they aren't slapping each other! Performances include dancers at all levels, and event attendees can also get in on the lessons.
Why do Greeks throw money at dancers? The Greek Money Dance originated as a wedding tradition, where guests would either pin paper money on or throw paper money (no coins please!) at the bride and groom. The tradition, at least in America, has been extended to any occasion where there are Greek dancers. The dancers keep the bills or share with the band.
Tip: picking up money that someone else threw, and throwing it again at the dancers is considered to be in poor taste.