'Sense-driven' Bel Air Greek Festival this weekend to feature folk-dancing, new desserts

This weekend, Sts. Mary Magdalene & Markella Greek Orthodox Church will present its 13th annual Bel Air Greek Festival.

The event, which will take place at the John Carroll School, includes Greek food, desserts, dancing, music and a silent auction, among other activities celebrating Greek culture.

The Rev. Father Elefterios Plevrakis said the festival is “sense-driven.”

“It’s not just going to see someone just play the guitar. It’s all-encompassing. It carries all the senses through history,” he said. “That’s why you’ve got the food, you’ve got the dance, you’ve got the history.”

This year, the event will feature more folk dancing groups, Plevrakis said, and guests can enjoy a DJ on Friday and Sunday, plus a live band on Saturday.

Admission is free, and there’s parking on-site, according to the church’s website.

The church has also picked a new supplier for some of the festival’s desserts, the reverend said.

“I’m the priest and I can’t lie,” he said. “I have to say this year they’re incredible.”

Some of the desserts on the menu include Greek pastries like bakalava and loukoumades — deep-fried balls of dough with honey and cinnamon.

The festival also includes other homemade Greek foods, he added.

This year is poised to be a big year for the festival in terms of turnout, Plevrakis said.

“This year we’ve had amazing feedback, people responding through our Facebook page, so I think this year is gonna be a bigger year,” he said.

The church is based in Darlington, but many of its members live closer to Bel Air, Plevrakis said.

Plevrakis, who’s originally from Florida, said he and his church fell in love with the welcoming nature of the area.

The festival, which is also the church’s biggest fundraiser, captures the Hellenistic way of life, he said, the same that’s plastered all over the study of the humanities.

“It’s poetic,” he said.

The festival begins at 4 p.m. on Friday, and starts at noon on Saturday and Sunday.

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