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Greek cuisine and homemade pastries, dance performances by church youth, live music by Enigma, tours of a Byzantine-architecture church, a raffle grand prize trip to Greece for two, daily raffle prizes donated by area businesses, and much more!

With its food, entertainment and atmosphere, the Ya’ssoo Greek Festival of Ann Arbor is a great way to kick off the summer season. This annual family event starts Friday, June 7 and continues through Sunday, June 9. It’s at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, at 3109 Scio Church Road.

Festival organizers say, “By sharing our food, art, music, and traditions, we hope to spread a love and appreciation of the great diversity of cultures represented by the greater Ann Arbor area.”

For the food, festival organizers said, “The Kouzina features Entrees and A la Carte options. Refreshments including soft drinks, ouzo, beer, and wine that can be purchased at the nearby Taverna, with Greek Frappe and coffee at the Kafeneio. Also, the “Opa!” booth features the well-known Saganaki–flaming cheese.”

And, “While visiting the Kafeneio, guests can choose from a wide selection of homemade desserts to top off your meal. Our special St. Nick’s Mix features a variety of pastries. The Greek desserts have made many put away their diet “just until the festival is over.”

The live entertainment features the Greek band Enigma and two dance groups— the teenage Leventia Dancers and The St. Nicholas Greek School Dancers comprised of the young children. All of the dancers perform traditional Greek dances in costume and invite guests to join in, learn, and dance throughout the evening.

Artemis Alex, the festival’s marketing director , said “Guests have told us that as much as they enjoy our food and atmosphere, the Greek folk dancers are the main attraction—especially the little ones. Many guests comment on how impressed they are that we continue to maintain our heritage, our ethnicity, and our culture. Several guests tell us that they attended our festival as children when we were downtown at 414 N. Main; now they are coming with their children and grandchildren. It has become a family tradition and a popular community event since the 70’s. This year we are Going Green.”

Other parts of the festival include an opportunity to shop at the Greek marketplace and visit the Bookstore that is housed inside the church, which features ceramic items, greeting cards, cookbooks, bookmarks, icons, religious books, and more. There will also be guided tours of the church that are continuous throughout the event and feature the recently completed Iconography.

There will be free parking and a shuttle at Knox Presbyterian Church, which is at 2065 S. Wagner Road, a half mile from St. Nicholas. After a brief shuttle ride, organizers said the sounds and aromas of Greece will draw guests to the many areas of the festival, the first of which is the raffle booth.

First prize is a trip to Greece for two. Third prize is a gold pendant from Lewis Jewelers, and fourth prize is a Gozney Roccbox Propane Gas Outdoor Pizza Oven. Bonus prizes donated by area businesses are announced to lucky winners throughout each day.

St. Nicholas supports various charitable groups through festival proceeds each year. This year a percentage of the proceeds will benefit “The Robert J. Delonis Center” in Ann Arbor, which is where the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County is located to offer support and housing solutions to those facing homelessness.

The festival is 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8, and then from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 9. Admission is $5 after 4 p.m. on Friday and all day Saturday/Sunday; children 12 and under always free.

For a schedule of events and additional information, visit www.annarborgreekfestival.org.

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