Valley Forge, PA – Have you tried the lamb shank platter at St. Sophia’s Greek Festival? It’s tasty and cartoonish in size, like something out of a renaissance faire. Or how about their famous pastitsio? It’s nearly as thick as a two layered cake. Then there’s the stuffed pepper the size of a watermelon. Ok, I’m exaggerating here… but the reality is, their food portions are huge! How huge you say? Well, I’d like to borrow the over used term, “My Big Fat Greek”… and add food. That’s about right.
Add a glass of Retsina, Greek music playing in the background, friendly atmosphere, and I am home. This festival is my Greek oasis. Everywhere you wander on the grounds of St. Sophia you feel Hellas – Greece. Parishioners of all ages spreading their good spirit known as filoxenia (friendship-hospitality) and the scents of homemade food.
Over the course of four hours, we saw three different dance groups, known as the “Asteria” (Stars), perform dances from all over Greece and in traditional folk attire. An indoor and outdoor tent kept the crowds circling back and forth. And when it came time to shop, Yia-Yia’s Agora, gave them a place for the evening to stroll through the village for goods.
And if that wasn’t enough, the highlight of the evening, was the wonderful church tour of this remarkable and unique Byzantine Orthodox church. Just hours before, the latest stage of iconography had been completed by famed Byzantine artist, Dr. George Kordis. Kordis was on hand to talk about his latest work on the interior of the church, which tour groups flooded in to see. The famed iconographer had just finished the lobby entrance of the church that had festival guests gazing in awe.
The festival continues today following church services and promises more of the same. For those looking for the perfect Sunday family affair, St. Sophia’s Greek Festival has it all.