Sts. Mary Magdalene & Markella Greek Orthodox Church plans to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a bang, moving its annual summer Greek Festival from the Darlington-based church to The John Carroll School in Bel Air.
The event, which features Greek food, music, vendors and children's activities, will be from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
As the host of the only Greek-culture celebration this side of Baltimore, the Greek church hopes the move will make the festival more accessible.
Father Manuel Burdusi noted the Darlington location, off Dublin Road just north of Route 1, has had issues with parking.
"We are trying something new," he said. "We really wanted to bring it into Bel Air and John Carroll was very gracious to let us have it."
The church has grown from 50 people to about 190, Burdusi pointed out. The festival, which has been held for the past eight years, usually draws about 3,000 people over the course of the weekend.
He hopes residents will come out to enjoy food such as souvlaki (kebabs), lamb and spinach pies, and to take in Greek dancing. He said four different churches will be doing performances in traditional Greek costume.
Vendors, some Greek and some not, will be selling wares. Admission to the festival is free.
The festival will be held indoors, with John Carroll's cafeteria used to prepare food.
Burdusi said the plan is to expand the festival outdoors next year.
Attendance-wise, "we are hoping this is going to be more, that we can appeal to more people," he said.
Before coming to Sts. Mary Magdalene & Markella seven years ago, Burdusi served for 18 years at Baltimore's St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, known for its Greek Folk Festival.
He noted the church relies heavily on proceeds from the festival to subsidize its budget.
It is also dedicated to "showcasing to the community our culture" while being "open to the rest of the world," he said.
More information on the festival is available at 410-836-9754 or http://www.STSMM.org.