OCEAN TOWNSHIP: Three days of warm sunshine graced the festivities at the Jersey Shore Greek Festival at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church on West Park Avenue over the weekend. It was wonderful, a celebration of customs, religious and cultural that has been the history of the Greek art, music, literature and religion and family living styles since the early days, more than history books may have recorded.
Co-Chair Theo Koufidakis added the Greek term "philotimo", our "love of honor" as she showed us around.
Father Andrew Eugenis said the St. George, once in Asbury and to now here has an 88 year history in the shore area. "We moved to Ocean Township in 2012. We brought the members, and icons, statues, and even the paintings now in the chapel." The Good Father invited all to "join us any Sunday for Divine Liturgy which begins at 9:30 a.m."
The brief tour of the church and chapel was an event in itself, with guides from the congregation to answer questions and welcome visitors from nearby towns and from distances over Ocean, Monmouth and Middlesex counties, maybe more.
The visit was most enjoyable with fantastic, happy patrons, an agora of vendors from the area, some including church members who spent days preparing treats for guests to enjoy.
Profits from the event also support charities in the area: Camp Oakhurst, Right Your Life, Covenant House, Kick Cancer Overboard, Central Jersey Blood Center, Family Promise of Monmouth County and the Ocean Township Community Hope Fund.
Food and beverages from every variety was beyond popular. Greek treats such as loukaoumades (some readers may relate the Italian treat of zeppole, unless you have also tried the Greek version). Baklava, souvlaki kabobs and many more palate pleasers were available to keep your energy up.
Games of chance, kid's fun games and rides filled the day as hundreds made the trip with parking help from busses to assure enough space for all.
Then came the Greek Dancers, from ages 8 to 12 to more senior groups, adults jumping in from time to time. It was more a family affair, where everyone was invited to enjoy!