Long Beach community gets a taste of Greece

Story and Photos by Anna Karkalik

Members of the church gather and participate in traditional Greek dance.

The 69th annual Long Beach Greek Fest offered the community a chance to be emerged into the Greek culture and history by providing authentic Greek food, live music and traditional dances throughout Labor Day weekend at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Labor Day event raised money for the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary used towards running the parish.

Long Beach community members gather to take a taste of Greece at the Long Beach Greek Fest on Sunday, September 2 at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Former LBCC graduate Mason Varraso said, “My girlfriend and her family brought me here with them; it’s one of their family traditions. I’ve never been but it’s pretty cool and the food is awesome.”

Varraso shared that one of his favorite dishes he tried was the greek seasoned lamb shish kabobs (Souvlakia) served with fries and topped with feta cheese.

Jack Campbell, a local church volunteer prepares meat for some traditional Greek dishes.

One stand that gathered a lot of people was the loukoumathes, a Greek fried donuts hole covered in a citrus infused honey syrup topped with cinnamon, chocolate syrup and nuts.

Sophia Armogida, a local church volunteer and church dance group member shared that the loukoumathes is a traditional recipe that was started from the Hennig family and passed along through generations, with each of them adding a subtle twist to the recipe.  

Traditional Greek Loukoumathes are topped with chocolate syrup, cinnamon and nuts.

“We are all a family and will do anything to support our church” Armogida said.

The parish dates back all the way from 1939 when the first area of land was purchased at the corner of 17th Street and Pacific Avenue in Long Beach while the official opening of the church to the public was in 1949.

Church volunteer Elene Dalaos said, “The support outside the local Greek community has grown and now we run out of food every year!”

The Long Beach Greek Fest will return next year during Labor Day weekend. Until then the community is welcomed to pick up a bulletin or go online at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to see the dates and times for their church tours.