The Greek Food Festival now has a permanent home in East Sacramento off Alhambra.
It has been nearly 30 years since the Greek Orthodox community has been able to hold large events in its own neighborhood.
“There’s a lot of times where weddings and baptisms and that sort of thing had to go off site to different locations because we just didn’t have the facilities,” said Sam Manolakas, the campaign chair.
He said it took decades of prayer and fundraising to open the $13 million, 43,000-square-foot facility.
“It was quite an undertaking,” Manolakas said. Not to mention, the long wet, wintry weather put a damper on construction and ultimately took five additional months to open.
“Weather was a huge factor for us,” said Manolakas. “The contractor did have its difficulties when we finished doing the demolition on the parking lot.”
The monumental project, known as The Build, features an indoor and outdoor facility for banquets and ballroom events. Attached are classrooms on the upper level and preschool open to the public. It even has enough space on the grounds to host the annual Greek Food Festival.
“Thirty years we’ve been downtown at the Convention Center,” said Father James Retelas, the presiding priest. He believes the new community center will not only be good for the church but also the surrounding community.
“They’re excited that we are bringing a major cultural event back to East Sacramento,” he said. For veterans of the congregation, it’s an unbelievable blessing to now share with decades to come.
On Saturday, there will be a special dedication ceremony with Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Greek dignitaries to bless the facilities.
As for the festival, instead of hosting it on Labor Day weekend, leaders have moved the weekend to October in hopes of cooler temperatures.