Greek summer festivals are one of the most anticipated events of the season for both Greeks and non-Greeks alike. The good news is that there are plenty of festivals to choose from throughout almost every state in the Union and in most Canadian provinces as Greek Orthodox Churches re-create the traditional “panegyri” or village festival, that typically commemorates a Saint’s name day or a special holiday.
There is a genuine appeal to Greek festivals, as guests can enjoy authentic and traditional Greek food and sweets as well as see live Greek music, participate in free Greek folk dance classes or Greek language lessons, kids activities, raffles, Byzantine Church tours and much more! It is the perfect way to learn more about the rich culture of Greece and the Greek people and experience a mini-vacation in Canada’s backyard.
Everyone can enjoy the welcoming and celebratory Greek village experience by attending one of these fun-filled cultural events. In many cases, Greek Summerfest is the largest and oldest cultural festival in the province and always lives up to raving reviews. The event schedule is below, just be sure to check with the websites as the dates may be subject to change.
June 9-12, Halifax, Nova Scotia
This is the oldest and largest cultural festival hosted in Nova Scotia. Every year, thousands of people attend, eating delicious Greek dishes and enjoying the music and free dance lessons, along with other events. For more information see http://www.novascotia.com/events/festivals-and-events/halifax-greek-fest/-2937
June 19-21, Calgary, Alberta
Priding itself on hosting a festival with the religious and cultural traditions of Greek society since Ancient times this event tells the story of how festivals were traditionally held to honor or receive favor from the gods or to celebrate the changing of the seasons. In line with tradition, here one will find music, dance, competitions, wine, and of course, food. The information for this festival is updated at http://www.calgaryhellenic.com/greek-festival/
July 7 – July 17, Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver Greek Summerfest is celebrating its 30th consecutive year. The Vancouver Greek Summer Festival is a celebration of food, entertainment, and family fun. They also have dozens of live singers and dancers and face-painting for children. Generally attended by 40,000 people from all areas of the culturally diverse Lower Mainland, as well as many visitors from around the world, this is one event not to miss! More info available at: http://vancouvergreeksummerfest.com
August 28-30, and September 4-5, Victoria, British Columbia
So much to do and see that there are two weekends filled with fun at this Greek Festival. Also happening at this event is a school hot lunch fundraiser, a raffle for a trip to Greece and a Senior’s day on August 28th. See more at: http://greekfest.ca/
June 24-26 London, Ontario
“Opa” festival has free admission and food, wine music and dancing. Their raffle gives opportunity to win anything from a $1000.00 travel voucher to a free dinner at the Hellenic Community Centre. For more information see: http://opafestival.ca
August 5-7 Toronto, Ontario
“Taste of the Danforth by GreekTown.” This event is a big one, with approximately 1.65 million attendees annually. The Festival is celebrating its 23rd anniversary and this year the Festival is even bigger and better than ever. The event offers numerous raffles, traditional food, music, and Greek folk dancing in the streets along with much, much more! Check out the schedule of events and information at: http://tasteofthedanforth.com
August 13-23 Ottawa, Ontario
This festival boasts delicious food with entertainment and events such as The Zorba Show, live Greek music, Greek cooking demonstrations, Artisans Court and Church Tours as well as raffles. For more information see: http://ottawagreekfest.com
August 19-21 Hamilton, Ontario
If the goal is experiencing authentic Greek food, live entertainment, dancing and “all day entertainment” then this festival is a must. For more information see their website at: http://hamiltongreekfest.com, where there is even a clock counting down the days till this party begins.
September 2-5 Niagara, St. Catharines, Ontario
To Experience a true Greek celebration with traditional music and the Kalamatiano, Tsamiko, Zeimbekiko and other Greek dances, this is the place. There is food, music, dancing and souvenirs to name a few area of entertainment at this cultural event. See more at: http://niagaragreekfestival.com