Volunteers were busy at Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church on Tuesday, prepping for the 10-day Surrey Greek Food Festival. From left: Volunteers Antonios Ziskos, Peter Kapeleis, “Mbarmba” Khosta and Savvas Kottas. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey Greek Food Festival sets up for ‘500-seat pop-up restaurant’

10-day event is at Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church

For more than two decades, Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church has been opening up its doors to the community for its annual Surrey Greek Food Festival, and this year will be no different.

“It seems to be that Greek communities all over North America do something like this. It’s neat. We kind of give our philotimo – we call it – to our greater community,” said John Kantarakias, the board secretary for the organizing group Greek Community of Surrey and Fraser Valley.

Philotimo, Kantarakias said, has no translation into English.

“The only way that I know how to kind of explain it is, we make strangers into family or family out of strangers. It is just the Greek way,” he said. “The one thing that every Greek has is that philotimo, and we hope our guests really get that when they are here for the next 10 days.”

The Surrey Greek Food Festival runs Friday, June 7 to Sunday, June 16. The festival is open 4 to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

The menu includes plates of BBQ lamb dinners, chicken or pork souvlaki and a vegetarian option, along with wraps, calamari and traditional desserts.

There will also be entertainment throughout the 10 days. For more information, visit surreygreekfoodfest.com/entertainment.

Kantarakias said the festival keeps growing each year, with last year being the “most successful ever.” He said the organizers are hoping to top that this year, “even by just a little bit.”

“We’re a 500-seat pop-up restaurant, is what we are. We turn over at least three times on a Saturday, Sunday – at least,” he said.

Antonios Ziskos, the president of the organizing group, said the festival sees close to 10,000 people over the course of the event. He said they get roughly 750 guests each day during the week, but that number nearly triples on the weekends.

There is off-site parking at AHP Matthew Elementary (13367 97th Ave.) and Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church is located at 13181 96th Ave.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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