BROOKSVILLE — A plane ticket to Greece may be out of the question for most. But this weekend, folks will have to go no farther than the Hernando County Fairgrounds for a taste of Greek history, culture and culinary delights.
The second annual Greek Festival, hosted by Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church, kicks off today and continues Saturday.
The indoor event will feature live music, dance groups, food, the Yia-Yia's Attic flea market, belly dancing and more.
Since the only grumbling during last year's festival was that it only lasted one day, organizers have stepped it up this year with two fun-filled days.
"We really had no complaints (last year)," said event chairwoman Emily Thomas. "Some people were asking if we'd do it more than just one day."
This year's menu has a few changes, but visitors will still find such favorites as gyros, moussaka, souvlaki, spanakopita, Greek salad and Grecian chicken. The food will be prepared by event co-sponsor Greek City Cafe of Spring Hill. There will also be a variety of Greek baked goods, including baklava, baklava cheesecake, diples and galaktoboureko.
"John Pappas (of Greek City Cafe), along with some family, friends and crew, will be serving up some authentic Greek dishes," Thomas said. "We are so excited."
The event will include several Greek dance groups, including a group from the University of Florida.
"The kids from UF give the world's best performance," Thomas said after seeing the group perform recently at a Greek festival in Ocala. "They were so incredible. . . . We're very excited to have them come."
The group will give two performances Saturday evening.
Those who enjoy Greek dancing will also have a chance to learn some moves themselves, as free dance lessons will be offered throughout the event.
Another highlight once again will be Demetri of Demetri and the Islanders. He will perform Greek and American music on several Greek instruments.
Visitors will have a chance to win door prizes. There will also be a raffle to win a grand prize of $500 cash. Tickets are $2 each or six for $10. The winner, who does not have to be present to win, will be drawn at 7:45 p.m. Saturday, as the event wraps up.
This year's festival includes a larger, improved Kids Fun Zone, with balloons, face painting, carnival games, arts and crafts, and other activities both days, as well as a bounce house on Saturday.
"There will definitely be more for the children this year," Thomas said.
All proceeds will benefit Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church, for both operating expenses and to help build a new church on Anderson Snow Road in Spring Hill.