You don't have to be Greek to love this festival

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BY ERINN EICHINGER

Memorial Day Weekend is the official kick off to summer and you don’t have to look far to find a festival or fair. If the idea of dancing to some Greek music and digging into some homemade baklava sounds like your kind of thing, then you should head over to the Valley Greek Festival in Northridge.

Dancers. Photo: www.greekfestival.com

The festival is organized for the public by members of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and it’s a fun mix of great food, live music, dancing and shopping. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

There are nine booths featuring a wide variety of Greek food including Calamari, Dolmathes, Gyros, Loucanico – a Greek sausage seasoned with lemon and orange, Mousaka – eggplant casserole, and Pastitsio – Greek lasagna.

Ouzo. Photo: Erinn Eichinger

If you’re one of those who wants a little something sweet after a meal, you’re in luck. There are over 14 kinds of pastries to choose from all hand made by church volunteers. There is the quintessential baklava and the loukoumathes, or Greek donuts that the festival has become known for. But if you’re feeling a tad more adventurous you can also try Galactoboureko or Memomakarouna. The biggest challenge won’t be eating the pastries, but pronouncing the names correctly. Don’t worry, just point and smile, you’ll do just fine.

Loukoniko. Photo: Erinn Eichinger

In addition to the food, which is the biggest draw, there is also day long live music performed by The Olympians and four shows daily of traditional Greek dancing.

You can also pick up a Greek fisherman’s cap and other artsy goodies at the many booths lined up in the middle of the festival, take a tour of the church or catch a cooking demonstration as well.

Mmmm, chicken. Photo: www.greekfestival.com

If you’ve got kids in your group, there is  a huge area for crafts and carnival games too.

The festival runs Saturday through Monday from 1-9 PM. Oh, and did I mention admission is free?

Free Admission. Food and drink are pay as you go. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church 9501 Balboa Boulevard Northridge, 91326 www.valleygreekfestival.com.

Erinn Eichinger is a lifestyle writer for print and television who’s worked and lived in the Valley for close to 20 years. She was a contributing writer for Sun Community Newspapers, as well as Fox News, KCBS News, Food Network, Discovery Health, A&E, Fine Living and The History Channel. You can check out more of her writing at www.Sundaydish.typepad.com

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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