By Heidi Sutton
Lovers of all things Greek will gather at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption, 430 Sheep Pasture Road, Port Jefferson, next week when the church holds its 55th annual Greek Festival from Aug. 18 to 28.
Running for two consecutive weekends this year, the event will feature carnival rides, face painting, games, music by Asteri Entertainment, traditional Hellenic dance performances by the Rythmos Hellenic Dance Group and culinary delights. Authentic mouth-watering foods such as gyros, moussaka, tiropita, souvlaki and spanakopita will be served up, along with sweet desserts such as melomacrona, galaktoboureko, kourabiedes, koulourakia, baklava and loukoumades, a fried dough pastry favorite. Guided tours of the church will be available throughout the day, and vendors will be offering Greek art, jewelry, souvenirs, icons and much more.
One of the main attractions at the festival is the over-the-top sweepstakes that the church holds. This year 315 prizes will be awarded. Prizes range from cars —a 2017 Mercedes Benz GLC 300 4Matic is first prize — to an Apple watch, cash prizes, 15-inch Tablet Laptop, a Bose Home Theater System, Xbox One, Mets tickets, Yankees tickets, a digital camera, gift cards and much more. Tickets for the sweepstakes are $100 each, limited to 4,999 tickets — meaning that one out of 16 will win a prize. The drawing will be held on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.
The festival will take place on Aug. 18 from 5 to 10 p.m., Aug. 19 from 5 to 11 p.m., Aug. 20 from 1 to 11 p.m., Aug. 21 from 1 to 10 p.m., Aug. 26 from 5 to 11 p.m., Aug. 27 from 1 to 11 p.m. and Aug. 28 from 1 to 10 p.m. Fireworks will be held on Aug. 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 9:30 p.m. Free shuttle buses will pick up festival attendees from Ward Melville High School, Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, Port Jefferson Ferry and the Long Island Rail Road station to transport them to festival grounds, making parking at this popular event a breeze.
Admission to the festival is $2 per person, children under 12 free. For more information, call the church office at 631-473-0894 or visit www.portjeffgreekfest.com.