Saturday, May 17, 2014

Greek Festival!

When I heard the radio spot for the Greek festival at the Greek church in the Oakland Hills this weekend, I immediately knew what we'd be doing on Saturday.

The Cathedral of the Ascension is a fairly impressive structure in a nice neighborhood, next to the equally imposing Mormon temple, and the posh manicured grounds of a private school.  It is high in the Oakland hills with sweeping views of the Bay.

The grounds are a complete compound.  The center of course is the cathedral, very impressive inside with a vaulted and gilded (or some sort of metallic application) dome.  Along with the church they have elaborate facilities: kitchens, dining halls, ancillary chapels, a well-equipped playground...well-organized for hosting large crowds and putting on events.

I'm happy to report an excellent time.  Much delicious food -- lambs-on-spits, gyros, souvlaki, spanakopita, pastries....the event was very well organized and managed.  In contrast with your average hippie fiasco event at Golden Gate Park, the Greeks are responsible and know what they're doing.  The food stalls were clean, well-run and the food was great.  Ample seating, tables with sun-shades.  No overflowing trash cans, no riff-raff.  Lots of cheerful respectable older guys in Sansa-belts, probably running prosperous plumbing supply houses or wholesale stone and tile shops.

It was nice to see the kids dance groups -- heartening to see kids engaged in something besides playing video games or texting.

Overall an atmosphere of prosperity, respectability, and bourgeois gemutlichkeit.  Then we descended from the hills to confront tattoos, trash, pit bulls, schizophrenics, surly fixie-riders, etc., etc. 

It was interesting to me to see such an evidently prosperous Greek-affiliated facility.  And there are several of these big Greek churches around the Bay area.  I mean, I haven't really been aware of any Greek community here of any size.  There are of course large communities of Chinese here, and Koreans, and Russians -- I even know where to find the Bay Area Afghan community -- but I don't know many Greeks, I don't know of any "Greek Town," or where to go to find all the Greek shops and restaurants.  But they are evidently here, and in numbers large enough to support these churches -- a large stealth community of well-off Hellenics, who knew?


1 comment:

  1. Have you been inside Holy Trinity Church on Brotherhood Way? I recall reading that it's ceiling mosaic is the largest west of the Mississippi. Picture is at this URL.