We went to the Atlanta Greek Festival last Friday evening at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Annunciation on Clairmont Road. If you’ve never been, you need to make plans to attend next year. The outdoor four-day festival, now in its 38th year, offers some of the best Greek food. I had Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna), DH had the Souvlaki plate and Thing One and Thing Two shared an order of Greek chicken. We also ordered a side of Greek potatoes, which were seasoned with lemon, oregano and a few other delicious spices.
After watching Greek dancers in full costume perform on the stage, we went inside the church to buy a sampler of Greek pastries, including Kourambiethes (Greek wedding cookies) and Kataifi, which resembles shredded wheat, but much better tasting as it’s filled with nuts and honey. My favorite was the Amygdalota cookie, which is an almond cookie. But the Baklava pictured below was pretty hard to beat. We ate these in the Kafenion, or coffeehouse area.
The Baklava was the best I’d had in a long time!
To burn off all those calories, we walked around the various shops, looking at scarves, jewelry and paintings. This year, they had two new exhibits: a room about Greek culture and another about the Greek Orthodox church. We ended our visit by going inside the cathedral which was completed in 1970, the same year the church was designated as a cathedral. Tours were given every hour and it’s always impressive to view the intricate mosaics. Pictured below is the 58 foot dome ceiling mosaic called Jesus Christ Ruler of All, by Italian born Sirio Tonelli.
This is the 58 foot mosaic on the ceiling
You just can’t appreciate that this is made of millions of tiny mosaic pieces. Also, below is a picture of one of the side panel mosaics that are located inside the cathedral. The tours are led by the church clergy and explain that the church was officially begun in 1905 as “The Annunciation of the Mother of Christ” in downtown Atlanta, first on Whitehall Street, then on Decatur Street near Five Points. In 1906, the congregation moved into a Presbyterian church on Garnett Street until the late 1920’s, when they moved into a Jewish Synagogue on Pryor Street. Here they stayed until 1970, when they built the present-day location.
There are plenty of activities for children, including rides, face painting and crafts. It is best to park at Century Center Office Park on the other side of I-85 on Clairmont and use the shuttle bus service as the streets near the festival have signs clearly stating, “No Festival Parking.” Admission is $5 for anyone over 12 years old. Bring your appetite and enjoy this vibrant festival, while learning about the Greek culture. See http://www.atlantagreekfestival.org/ for more information. Opa!