Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall Festivals: Explore the World in Your Own Community

By Jeff Burns

Cooler weather, leaves turning.  That means it’s time for the fall festivals that abound at this time of year.  Every weekend, you can find something fun to take in.  Schools, churches, and communities have their annual fairs and festivals.  There are arts and crafts festivals, quilt shows, ethnic festivals, and Native American powwows everywhere.
Recently, we went to Greece and Romania in the same day, about an hour from our home.  First up was the 39th Atlanta Greek Festival held at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation.  There were vendors selling jewelry and fashion, and Greek music and dancing on stage all day long.  The big attraction, of course, was the fantastic food:  souvlaki, moussaka, baklava, salads, Greek coffee, Greek potatoes, gyros, etc.  There was even a market where you could buy Greek pastries to take home along with any ingredient you needed to cook Greek at home.

The Cathedral was also open for tours and brief lectures by parishioners about the history of the Greek Orthodox Church and its rituals.  The cathedral was built in the 1960s and is the home of beautiful one of a kind mosaic icons and scenes, like the figure of Christ on the dome interior on the left and the resurrection in the center, created by a gifted Italian artist.

Then, twenty minutes later, we were in Romania for the Atlanta Fall Romanian Festival, which had a different feel.  It was much smaller, and there were no vendors except for food. Here, the focus was on food and performance.  Romanian was the language of the day.  The emcees spoke Romanian and looked as if they were Eastern European television news presenters.   There was food (like the stuffed cabbage and polenta in the photo), dance, and music, and the church operated a small Romanian museum, with mostly examples of national costumes.

It was a fun and delicious whirlwind tour of southeastern Europe.  Take your own tour this weekend!

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