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22ndannualcapital

Bay Area's Vallejo Holds St. Constantine & Helen Greek Festival

The Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Vallejo, California held its yearly two-day Vallejo Greek Festival, complete with food, music, dancing and activities over the weekend.

The Hellenic celebration also serves as a Church fundraiser. The event hosted hundreds of patrons who enjoyed a weekend of traditional Greek customs and cuisine.

St. Constantine and Helen priest Nebojsa Pantic described the Festival to the Times Herald, "We're opening our doors to invite people to share a good meal...In Greece, sharing food and drink is the number one thing to do. That's how people express themselves. That's how people live."

The Orthodox delegate added, "We're trying to be friends to strangers...Opening up our house with the food and the wine and everything else to get people to come, relax, have an amazing meal and maybe get to know our church a little bit."

The Greek community of Vallejo has experienced a decrease in its population and now holds approximately 150 families. As previous Benicia City Councilman and Festival volunteer Mike Ioakimedes stated, "Growing up Greek-American, you kind of have an American world and a Greek world...This is my Greek world...Greeks are very boisterous — it's a family thing."