Cardiff Greek Festival returns Sept. 10-11

Guests learn a traditional Greek dance at a past festival.
(Rob McKenzie)

Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church welcomes the San Diego community to join the fun, food and “Opa!” at the 42nd Annual Cardiff Greek Festival on Sept. 10 and 11.

From from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on both days, attendees can enjoy and experience Hellenic cuisine, entertainment and hospitality as the church grounds are transformed with the sights, sounds and tastes of Greece.

“Our parish holds Greece’s rich history and traditions deeply in our hearts, and we are excited to once again share our Philotimo with the community-at-large through the festival,” said Rev. Father Michael Sitaras, pastor of Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in a news release. “Stemming from filos meaning friend and timi meaning honor, Philotimo is the love and good that motivates us to share ourselves with others, but it’s true definition can only be felt.”

The renowned Southern California Greek band The Olympians will perform throughout the weekend. The parish’s youngest members, ages five through high school, will also perform folk dances in traditional costumes.

Greek delicacies will be available, such as Greek-style roasted lamb shanks, gyros, lemon chicken, souvlaki (shish-kabobs), pastitsio (baked layers of macaroni, seasoned meat, cheese, and béchamel sauce) and loukaniko (sausage). Vegetarian fare will include tiropitas (cheese triangles in filo), spanakopita (spinach pie), dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), feta fries, and Greek salad.

The Kafenio (café) will serve desserts like baklava sundaes and Greek-specialty coffee; Michael Pavlidis with Boukali Wines will be offering classes and tastings of Greek imported wines.

A marketplace will mimic a traditional bazaar featuring Greek imports, pottery, fine jewelry, artwork and an array of other treasures. A Kids Fun Zone will feature games and a raffle will offer up the chance to win $20,000 cash and two Padres season tickets.

Father Sitaras will also host tours of the church to enlighten guests about the mosaics, iconography and Byzantine architecture.

“What many visitors don’t realize is that our gold dome is just as magnificent on the inside as it is on the outside,” Sitaras said. “I love that moment of stunned wonderment when guests first see the intricacy of the Byzantine artwork.”

Tickets ($3 admission and children under 12, active military, police, and firefighters with ID are free) can be purchased at the festival and at Saints Constantine and Helen is located at 3459 Manchester Avenue. Free parking is available at the adjacent Mira Costa College. For more information, visit