One of my favorite summer events is the annual Hamptons Greek Festival. There’s nothing like enjoying a beautiful summer evening with friends and family, complete with delicious food, wonderful music and a festive atmosphere. Well, the Greek Festival is back this weekend! Both visitors and locals can enjoy delicious Greek food, traditional Greek music and dancing, children’s rides, and vendors at the annual event run by the Kimisis Tis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Church in Southampton.
Father Constantine Lazarakis, one of the priests at the church, along with Father Alexander Karloutsos, said that the festival is the church’s main benefit event each year. “It’s our major annual fundraiser, so much of our operating budget is funded through the festival,” he noted, “and that allows the church not only to serve our members but also provide philanthropy and service in the broader East End community.” Moreover, Father Lazarakis feels very blessed because “We have a very committed group of faithful congregants and our festival is put on by volunteers.” Volunteers make all of the food and desserts from scratch, and work hard to prepare for weeks and months before the event to ensure that it runs smoothly.
Highlights of the event include performances by a group called the Hamptons Hellenic Dancers, which is part of the church’s youth ministry. They will dance to Greek music in traditional costumes, doing a wide variety of folk dances from all over Greece. There will also be a raffle with over $25,000 in cash and prizes, including a Fiat 500, a 46-inch television and Yankees and Mets tickets. Children’s carnival rides and great vendors ensure that everyone will find something fun to do. And to top it all off, admission and parking are free!
The festival is one of the largest summer events in the Hamptons, attended by thousands of people over the four days. It is usually held on the church’s property, but this year it will be at the Southampton Elks Club due to the construction of a new church building. My favorites of the festival include the classic Greek salad, spanakopita (spinach pie) and yummy baklava for dessert. As a shopping enthusiast, I love the vendors’ tent, where I can always find a treat for myself or a gift for a friend.
Father Lazarakis and his parish are looking forward to showcasing some of the wonderful food and customs of their people, and sharing them with the community. “It’s an opportunity to show the broader community what our church is about,” he said. Check out the Hamptons Greek Festival this weekend—you won’t be disappointed.
2011 Hamptons Greek Festival, July 7-9, 4-11 p.m.; July 10, noon-9 p.m. (rides start at 3 p.m.). Southampton Elks Lodge 1574, 605 County Road 39, Southampton. 631-283-6169, www.kimisishamptons.org. [/expand]