My big fat Greek festival

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SALT LAKE CITY — Dancing and delicious food awaited visitors last weekend at the 39th Annual Salt Lake City Greek Festival.

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The Greek Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City. Each year, the church hosts a Greek Festival open to people of all faiths.

The Salt Lake City Greek Festival is hosted every year by the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake and held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral on 279 S. 300 West. The festival allows participants to be immersed in the Greek culture through church tours, dance and Greek cuisine.

“The Greek Festival is an event we hold in September to raise money for charitable causes,” said Theo Davis, a parishioner at the Greek Orthodox Church.

The festival has had as many as 50,000 visitors during the three-day event, according to the festival’s website. Events at the festival include cathedral and museum tours, dance performances, a children’s carnival area, jewelry and painting booths, and of course authentic Greek cuisine.

The Greek food served at the festival includes gyros, baklava, dolmathes and whole lamb roasted on a spit. For some visitors, the food is the main attraction.

“We come every year for the food,” said Lisa Beck, who has been coming to the festival with her husband for 25 years. “Because we’ve come so long, we used to watch all the dancing and things, but now we just come, get our food and go home.”

The Becks said their favorite festival treat is the tyropitas, a cheese triangle wrapped and baked in a flaky phyllo pastry.

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A group performs a traditional Greek dance at the Greek Festival in Salt Lake City on Sept. 6. The festival included authentic Greek food, dancing and other booths.

Traditional Greek folk dancing is a staple at the festival. The dances consist of Pan-hellenic dances and dances from the islands and mainland. Group dance performances included the Kalamatiano, the national dance of Greece; the Hassapiko; and the Tsamiko, traditionally a men’s dance that is performed with acrobatics, according to the festival’s website. Attendees of the festival were able to sit and enjoy this dancing while enjoying authentic Greek food.

The Greek Festival welcomes all visitors, regardless of religious affiliation. Many members of the LDS Church visited the festival over the weekend.

“We’ve had The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints representatives with their name tags on,” said Chris Sakellariou, BYU alumna and Greek Orthodox Church parish council member. “They come and get the church tours, enjoy the food, and we’re all one big happy family. Most people of other faiths do participate in tours because they love seeing what our church is like and what we’re about.”

The festival will be held again next year during the first weekend in September.

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