A variety of homemade Greek food and drinks — ranging from gyros, souvlaki, baklava, spanakopita and Greek wine and beer — will be available for purchase. In addition to the tastes, the sights include the Byzantine architecture of the church and tours, shopping, a kids’ area and folk dancers.
Charlie Dallaville of Marietta has been attending the festival almost since its beginning. He grew up in east Cobb and graduated from Walton High School in 1993. He is the co-owner of Painting Plus Incorporated at 127 Powers Ferry Road in Marietta.
What keeps him coming back year after year? “It’s pretty fun,” he said. “The family atmosphere and the food (are) great.”
Another reason: “Baklava and ice cream,” he said.
Although Dallaville is not of Greek descent, he said his Italian heritage closely mirrors Greek culture. Dallaville now brings his family — wife, Maria, and children, Charlie Jr. and Victoria — to the festival to continue the tradition.
He said the festival is good for local people in Cobb to experience a new way of life. “It’s unique to Marietta,” he said.
Steve Tingas has also been involved with the Marietta Greek Festival since its early days. He will be serving as chairman for the seventh time, but has acted in other capacities, such as treasurer, starting 20 years ago.
Both of Tingas’ parents are Greek. He was born in the U.S. but attended school in Athens, Greece, up through fourth grade. When he was 10 years old, he returned to the U.S. “I didn’t know any English. Greek is my native language,” he said.
Although food is a main draw, Tingas said the festival allows Greeks to share their way of life with the community, who in turn will have a better understanding of it.
“ A lot of people don’t realize we are a Christian denomination,” Tingas said. “It is a chance for us to share our religion and Greek culture with the community.”
Last year’s festival drew 14,000, and Tingas is expecting even more this year. For someone who has never attended the festival, he gives a few reasons to come.
“If they like ethnic food, we probably have the best Greek food they can get throughout the year. We have dancers that demonstrate dances from different parts of Greece and different time frames. They will really enjoy that,” he said. “I encourage them to take a tour of our church. We have a different style church with icons painted on the walls and ceilings. I think they will find that very interesting.”
Tingas adds, “Come out and have fun. Learn about what we believe.”
Festival days and times are Friday from 3 to 11 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Adult admission is $3. There is no cost for children younger than 12.
Admission will be free on Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. New this year is a $5 weekend pass for patrons who want to return again and again during the weekend.
Free parking and shuttle bus service is available at Simpson Middle School, Trickum Road Church of Latter Day Saints, Trickum Road (except Sunday) Lassiter High School, Shallowford Road Shallowford Crossing Shopping Center, Shallowford & Trickum Roads.
This year’s festival is sponsored by The Marietta Daily Journal and AM 640 WGST. For more information, visit www.mariettagreekfestival.org or call the Festival Hotline at (770) 924-8080.