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Festival of Greece 

When: Fri., May 14, 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat., May 15, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sun., May 16, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 2010
Price: $6

Not for nothing do the words "big," "fat," and "Greek" go so well together, given that at most Greek festivals, food is the main attraction. This explains why preparations for the annual Festival of Greece usually begin two months ahead of time. Parishioners from Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral (4700 Lincoln Ave., Oakland) began cooking all the spinach pies and meatballs in March, and by the first week of May were ready to transform their church into a warren of food booths. This week they set up the tables and let the pots simmer. On Saturday, the meaty smell of lamb shanks and stewed tomatoes will mix with the sweet fragrance of baklava. Aside from gorging, guests can enjoy non-stop folk dancing, liturgical choirs, culinary demos, and a huge bazaar where vendors sell sacred artifacts and secular goods. Friday through Sunday, May 14-16. Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; $6, children under 12 free. 510-531-3400 or

— Rachel Swan


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