“OPA!” – a Greek term typically heard at times of celebration – was shouted from the top of everyone’s lungs during Fresno’s 2018 Greek Fest. With a large Greek community in Fresno, this year marked 58 years of this Fresno tradition. Friday through Sunday night was chock full of activities for the community, including music, dancing, vendors and traditional Greek food. Vendors sold jewelry, paintings, religious artifacts and handmade crafts.
Among the gyro, Greek fries and baklava sundaes, many flocked to the taverna to grab a beer, wine or Ouza. A popular event that occurred all three days, were performances by the George Youth Dancers. Melina Kazanjian, a freshman at Fresno State, has performed Greek dancing since the age of 4, “so basically my whole life” she exclaimed. Kazanjian added that while she is of Greek descent. Not all of the performers are – but they are all orthodox.
Along with the festivities, church tours were held all three days to learn more about the Greek Orthodox religion and to witness the architecture of the church.
According to the Fresno Greek Fest website, “St. George Greek Orthodox Church has become one of the most ethnically diverse congregations in the Valley. The ethnic makeup of the community includes Lebanese, Egyptians, Syrians, Italians, Eritreans, Indians, Romanians, Hungarians, Ukrainians, East Asians, Russians, Armenians, Spanish, Serbians, Hispanics and, of course, Greeks. Many people travel from out
of (Fresno) to celebrate with the community every year.”