Geeek Festival_10

Nektarios Chaffee shows off his fancy steps during a dance at the St. George Greek Food Festival.

Cooler weather makes for optimal festival weather and for two church communities, St. George's Greek Orthodox Church and Sacred Heart Church, Sunday was a day full of festival fun. 

The St. George Greek Orthodox Church finished its last run of its 43rd Greek Food Festival with an array of Greek food and activities. 

The festival grounds were teeming with Bakersfieldians tasting classic Greek fare such as: spanakopitas, baklava and dolmades, gyros, shish kebabs and others.

First time festival-goer Leslie Koehler said she wishes she'd come to the Greek Food Festival in years prior. 

"All these delicious frangrances," Koehler said, "make you want to taste everything."

Koehler, accompanied by her daughter, Erin Koehler, and husband, Kurt Koehler, came to the festival on Erin's Greek co-worker's suggestion. 

"It's definitely a change of pace, I never get to eat Greek food," Erin Koehler said. 

However, one of Leslie Koehler's highlights was hearing Long Beach band, The Olympians, sing lively music in Greek. 

"It's not something I would get tired of and I'm really thinking about buying their CD," Leslie Koehler said.

The Olympians' performance wasn't the only non-food attraction. Booths that sold paintings, clothing and accessories were sprinkled throughout the venue.

One of those booths, was Henna by Hana. Henna, a plant-based pomade used for body art or temporary tattooing, is typically associated with Indian culture. 

But Hana Ayoub isn't Greek herself. "I'm a member of St. George, but I'm actually Jordanian," Ayoub said. 

Ayoub said many other cultures practice hennaing. "For the Greeks, they don't do it as intricate," Ayoub said. "For example, they dip their fingers on the design."

And there's no a shortage of Greek culture at the Greek Food Festival, once the St. George Greek Dancers took the stage.

One of the dancers, Nikoli Hackleman, said Greek festivals like these has helped him learn the art of traditional Greek dancing. 

"I've been doing it ever since I can remember," Hackleman, said. "I'd spend my entire time doing it if I had enough time in the day." 

On the other side of town, another church festival ensued: Sacred Heart Church's Harvest Festival and barbecue. 

The Rev. David Enriquez expressed gratitude to his churchgoers. 

It's not as big as an event as other churches, Enriquez said, but it's important. 

Enriquez stresses the importance of the church's community coming together on Sunday's fall barbecue. 

"We have four masses so it's a good time for everyone to gather and get to know each other in the community," Enriquez said. 

This event goes to funding the CCD, or Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes, at Sacred Heart Church.

This effort has allowed Sacred Heart Church to be one of the few small Catholic churches to offer CCD classes from kindergarten to high school, Enriquez said. 

"Everyone volunteers their time here to put this together, it really brings the community together," Enriquez said.  

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