SAN DIEGO — The grounds of Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Cardiff will be transformed into a Greek island this weekend.

Opa! The 43rd annual Cardiff Greek Festival will kick off Saturday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m. The two-day event will be filled with entertainment and hospitality.

Festivalgoers can expect to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of Greece.

“Our parish is, once again, excited to share Greece’s rich history and traditions, which we hold so dear, with the community-at-large through the festival,” said Rev. Father Michael Sitaras, pastor of Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church.


Prepare to be serenaded by the bouzouki from The Olympians, a Southern California Greek band that will perform traditional songs throughout the weekend.

Intricate folk dances will also be performed by young parish members wearing elaborate costumes. You may want to wear your dancing shows because there will be guided dance instruction for those ready to bust a Greek move.

Never been to the church? Father Sitaras will be hosting tours of the grounds and sacred buildings.

“What many visitors don’t realize is that our gold dome, which reflects an iconic shining cross on the outside, is just as magnificent on the inside,” said the pastor. “I cherish the moment when guests first experience the intricacy of the Byzantine mosaics, iconography, and architecture. “

There will also be a a traditional marketplace featuring Greek imports, fine jewelry, artwork, and more.

Food and drink

Event organizers suggest coming hungry as this Greek festival will have plenty of food and drinks to be enjoyed.

Attendees can expect authentic delicacies such as Greek-style roasted lamb shanks, lemon chicken, souvlaki (shish-kabobs), pastitsio (baked layers of macaroni, seasoned meat, cheese, andbéchamel sauce), loukaniko (sausage), and gyros.

The festival will also have meatless fare including tiropitas (cheese triangles in filo), spanakopita (spinach pie), dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), feta fries, and Greek salad.

Guests can enjoy baklava sundaes and huge selection of Greek pastries that can be paired with a specialty coffee or frappe.

For those of age, the festival will be offering tastings of Greek imported wines. There will also be plenty of Greek beer on tap.

The Cardiff Greek Festival will be celebrated Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 10 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 3459 Manchester Ave., which is located a half-mile east of Interstate 5 at the Manchester exit in Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

Free parking is available at the adjacent Mira Costa College. Admission is only $3 with children under the age of 12, active military, police, and firefighters with ID receiving free entry.