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St. Nicholas Greek Festival in St. Louis

By Deborah O'Brien

It's easy to "go Greek" over Labor Day weekend at the St. Nicholas Greek Festival in the Central West End. The annual event is a great chance to experience the best of Greek art, dancing, music and food.

When and Where:

The St. Nicholas Greek Festival is held each year during Labor Day weekend. In 2013, the festival is Friday, August 30 through Monday, September 2. The festival is open Friday evening for a special event in the beer garden from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Then, the celebration continues on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Monday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The festival is held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at 4967 Forest Park Avenue in the Central West End. Free parking is available at the BJC Garage near the church. Admission is free.

Food and Fun:

As you would expect, food is one of the big draws at the St. Nicholas Greek Festival. There is a large menu featuring dozens of Greek favorites like lamb shanks, gyros and spanakopita. And for dessert, don't miss the baklava. It is fantastic! There are also more than a dozen other Greek pastries, cookies and sweets to sample as well. In addition to the food, the festival features performances by groups of Greek dancers several times a day, a gift shop with jewelry, art and other imported items, and a raffle for the chance to win a brand new car. Money raised from the festival supports St. Nicholas parish and its ministries.

Church Tours:

St. Nicholas is a beautiful church filled with paintings, art and religious icons. You can learn more about the church building and Greek Orthodox Christianity by taking a church tour during the festival. The tours provide information on the history of St. Nicholas parish, and offer an introduction to some of the main beliefs and practices of the Orthodox faith. Church tours are given each day of the festival at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The church bookstore also sells a wide variety of religious books, videos and CDs about Greek Orthodox history and theology for anyone wanting additional information.

More Labor Day Weekend Events:

The St. Nicholas Greek Festival is just one of the popular events in the St. Louis area over Labor Day weekend. There's the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Midwest Wingfest in Fairview Heights, Big Muddy Blues Festival on Laclede's Landing and much more. For information on these and other events, see Top Ways to Celebrate Labor Day Weekend in St. Louis.

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