No announcement yet.

LA: Greeks bring food, music, life to festival

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • LA: Greeks bring food, music, life to festival

    Greeks bring food, music, life to festival
    By Rachel Uranga, Staff Writer

    Los Angeles Daily News, CA
    May 30 2004

    With the smell of roasting meat wafting through the air and notes of
    Greek music echoing through the crowd, thousands gathered Saturday
    for the opening of the Valley Greek Festival.

    The free event at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church is scheduled to
    continue from 1 to 9 p.m. today and Monday. It is expected to draw
    50,000 revelers by its close, many who come year after year to enjoy
    food, music and dance, as well as to see old friends.

    "We look forward to this festival every year," said Sonia Siekertzian,
    a Granada Hills resident who, with her Greek-Armenian husband, has
    not missed the event in its 31 years.

    Put together by more than 300 church parishioners, the all-volunteer
    effort yields tons of souvlaki -- a Greek shish kebab -- and oodles
    of other Greek delicacies.

    Parishioners began baking some of the 14 varieties of desserts --
    including baklava and kourambiethes (a shortbread) -- in January to
    ensure the festival had the 48,000 pastries needed for the spread.

    And rivaling Krispy Kremes are loukoumathes, a kind of Greek doughnut
    hole, served warm. But there's plenty of other food for those without
    a sweet tooth, including tiropita (cheese pie), moussaka (a casserole
    with eggplant, meat and potatoes), spanakopita (spinach and cheese pie)
    and dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice).

    "This is the way that we give back to the community," said Peter
    McCarty, a 47-year-old Northridge volunteer who could be found under
    a white tent Saturday cooking up loucanico, a sausage flavored with
    orange peels. Married to a Greek and himself Irish, McCarty said only
    the music rivals the food.

    Holding his 5-year-old daughter piggyback style, Toma Popescui stood
    beneath a tree, watching traditional Greek folk dance.

    "Seeing somebody's culture is something amazing," said the
    28-year-old. "And the food is unbelievable."

    Rachel Uranga, (818) 713-3741 [email protected]

    IF YOU GO: The 31st Valley Greek Festival, from 1 to 9 p.m. today
    through Monday at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at 9501
    Balboa Blvd., Northridge. For more information, (818) 886-4040 or