Historic City News Editor Michael Gold caught up with one of the state’s most recognizable Greek descendents today at the 13th annual Greek Festival going on now until 9:00 p.m. tonight — then noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday.
Governor Charlie Crist, whose family name is adapted from the original Greek name “Christodoulou”, took a lunch break this afternoon to enjoy some of the authentic Greek specialties featured at this weekend’s festival. The governor’s father was Greek Cypriot descent.
The governor, his family and friends, including St. Augustine businessman Henry Green, were hurriedly talking politics between bites. Campaign signs supporting Crist in his run for U.S. Senate were plentiful, and greeters, armed with Crist campaign literature, were busily working the crowd coming into Francis Field for this weekend’s event.
Crist is very approachable and that is part of his persona. While taking a few minutes with him and Green, a young man walked up and presented the governor with a shirt; a gift from his father. Crist stopped eating, put down his food, and graciously accepted the token. When the governor thanked the young man and shook his hand, his eyes lit up.
The festival is sponsored by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in St. Augustine. Father George says, “It is truly a labor of love by our parishioners.” Months of preparation go into the planning and presentation of the event.
Authentic ethnic cuisine is available a la Carte, dinner plate, or combination dinner plate.
Dinner plate includes rice, Greek salad and bread. Combination plate includes pastitsio, dolmathes, spanakopita & tiropita. Featured foods include grilled lamb, souvlaki – pork or chicken, pastitso, rizi (rice pilaf), tiropita, spanakopita, dolamathes, Greek salad, gyro sandwiches – meat or veggie, chicken strips, and calamari.
Food, music and dancing are not the only attractions offered at this festival. This three day cultural event provides an opportunity for the church to share their culture and faith with the St. Augustine community.
Visitors can learn a little about the Orthodox faith and its culture at the Inquiry Booth. On Sunday morning the Matins service and Liturgy will be held beginning at 9:00 a.m. All are welcome to attend.
Photo credits: © 2010 Historic City News staff photographer