For the past 32 years, members of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Raleigh have spent months each year getting ready for the Greek Festival to showcase their culture to the community. Some spend hours in the kitchen baking recipes that have been handed down for generations and that were enjoyed as a child. Others practice their instruments, perfecting traditional Greek music and songs, while members gifted in dance rehearse traditional Greek folk dances to perform at the festival.
“It is really a community building event for our church,” says Father Paul Christy, priest of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. “Everyone rolls up their sleeves and gets to know each other better as we work side by side. It is heartwarming to see a 104-year-old working next to a 5-year old.
“We love offering hospitality to the community at large as well and letting people know who we are.”
In 1982, members from the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church wanted to share their Greek heritage and culture with others in the community. The first festival was held in the Scott Pavilion at the Fairgrounds, but the community interest quickly outgrew the space, and the festival was moved to its current home at the Exposition center. Last year, over 15,000 people came to celebrate Greek heritage over the three-day festival.
The community is invited to this year’s festival from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22 at the Exposition center at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. Admission is $3, seniors and ages 13 to 18 are $2, and children under 13 are free.
“The Greek Festival is a festive and joyous event,” Christy says. “You have to experience it to understand the food, the music, the dance and the warmth of the people. It is so much fun and you can’t help but have a good time.”
For more information, email email@example.com or visit www.greekfestivalraleigh.com. A free iPhone app for the festival (OPA Raleigh) is also available from the iTunes store with the menu, schedule and other information.
Temple Beth Or harvest festival
Temple Beth Or will be building a sukkot in Moore Square in downtown Raleigh to celebrate the fall harvest festival and bring attention to the plight of those who have no food to harvest. A sukkot, which means booth, is a temporary dwelling that Jewish people were commanded to live in during the Festival of Sukkot to remember the period of wandering.
The congregation will begin building the sukkot on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Temple Beth Or will hold a Sukkot/Shabbot Festival at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, and Tot Shabbat in the Succah at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in Moore Square. The community is invited to bring a bag lunch and attend a lunch and learn with a rabbi at noon Monday, Sept. 23, and noon Tuesday, Sept. 24, in Moore Square. Visitors are encouraged to visit the sukkot during the week and are encouraged to bring a meal to eat in the sukkot.
Unity Church men’s inquiry group
The Unity Church of Raleigh is holding a men’s inquiry group to discuss spiritual matters and solutions to everyday challenges from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at the church, 11101 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh. The group meets the fourth Thursday of each month, and the public is welcome to attend. Bring a brown bag dinner. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.unitychurchofraleigh.org or call 919-870-7364.
Living Stones Kidzfest
Living Stones Family Church is inviting families to attend its Kidzfest at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at North Forest Pines Elementary School, 11501 Forest Pines Dr., Raleigh. The Kidz-a-Blaze Youth Band along with other youth dance and drama groups will perform. Free pizza will be served to all families after the service. For more information, call 919-890-3848 or visit www.lsfamily.org.
Millbrook Baptist Blessing of the Animals
Animals and their owners are encouraged to attend Millbrook Baptist Church’s second annual Blessing of the Animals at 4:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 22, at the church, 1519 E. Millbrook Road, Raleigh. The rain date is 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29. Animals of all types are welcome provided they are leashed or otherwise restrained and have no communicable diseases. Those who have lost a beloved pet may bring a collar, toy, or other reminder of their pet for a blessing of memories.
Following a short service, animals in attendance will be offered an individual blessing by the Reverend Dr. Andrea Jones and Associate Pastor Bob Stillerman. Donations for the Wake County Animal Center will be collected at the service, including monetary donations, pet food, toys, paper towels, and bedding (sheets and towels). For more information, call 919-876-1519.
Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at email@example.com. For events, please give two to three weeks of notice.