St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church opens doors to cultural party

Celebrate community as cultures collide in Beaverton as the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church present the fifth annual “Glendi” Greek Festival.

Glendi means party and celebration. Families are invited to sample much more than tasty specialties from around the world. They can take a leisurely sip of coffee in the Kafenion, enjoy a joyous toast of wine or beer and dance to Greek music throughout the three-day event. Inside the church, visitors can take in the beautiful living liturgical tradition that unites nations and keeps an ancient faith modern. Kids will have special entertainment, and adults may enter to win prizes.

The showcase of international riches opens Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and continues from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday at the church campus, 14485 S.W. Walker Road.

Visitors may purchase specialties from Greek, Ethiopian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Live Greek music and dances by young performers help make this the perfect family outing.

Guests will be entertained on Friday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. by Tezeta, a high-energy 10-piece band that plays soulful dance music. It is part jazz, Motown and ancient Ethiopian melodies blended with rhythm and blues music of the 1960s and 1970s. Local Serbian folk dancers return to perform on Saturday evening. Families can also learn Greek dancing at the festival.

A stroll inside to view the icon-bedecked nave of the church may find a live concert of byzantine chant from four different local choirs. Tours include demonstrations of the ancient art of sacred icons and guides through the liturgical traditions of the church. Visit the for all entertainment schedules and church tours.

Admission to the Glendi Greek Festival and all performances is free.

A children’s schedule of activities includes a bounce house (10 and younger), face painting, arts and crafts. Pony rides are Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.

The Curt Show is new to the festival this year. Curtis Carlyle is known for his seriously funny juggling and will perform on Friday at 1 and 2 p.m.

Visitors may purchase chances to win a $2,500 travel voucher. Raffle drawing tickets are $50, and only 100 will be sold this year.

A donation of two cans of food to the Oregon Food Bank earns a small loukoumades pastry.

Access to the festival is through the Meadow Park Middle School sports field, with parking in the school neighborhood. In addition, visitors will find parking on Koll Parkway, two blocks west of the church, and be shuttled in to the festival.

Proceeds from the Glendi Greek Festival benefit St. John the Baptist’s building fund and the Oregon Food Bank.

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