By Brian Park
With a ceremonial breaking of plates and cries of “Opa,” so began the first Greek Festival in San Juan Capistrano.
More than 1,000 guests arrived at the event Saturday, which was hosted by St. Basil’s Greek Orthodox Church. Festivalgoers enjoyed authentic Greek cuisine, sweets, drinks, live music, dancing and tours of the new church.
Mayor John Taylor and Mayor Pro Tem Sam Allevato helped to open the festival by welcoming the church to the community and thanking parishioners for their working in putting on the event.
“I was very happy to see our whole community getting together, working together, sharing our culture, hospitality and food,” Fr. Bill Tragus said. “I think everybody was very happy. We got a lot of compliments from our business neighbors and guests.”
Initially, the festival was scheduled to take place over two days, but Tragus said the church did not want to overcommit themselves in their first go-round with the festival. Tragus said the church hopes to make next year’s festival a weekend-long event.