Whether you're going to Greece, or the Greek Festival, Peter Patitsas can help.
Patitsas will be teaching a "Greek survival guide" at this year's festival, slated for Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-5, at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 555 N. High St.
He will teach what to do and say in important situations such as a date, a day at the beach, restaurants and festive greetings. Part of the discussion will focus on Greek culture and how it has influenced American civilization.
"I try to make it fun," he said.
The 30-minute classes will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday, 5 p.m. on Sunday and 2 p.m. on Monday. Greek heritage is not required, he said.
"We try to basically welcome all," he said.
Other cultural highlights include the telling of Aesop's Fables for younger guests, a discussion of Greek theater with audience participation and lessons on Greek dancing.
Helen Rankin, co-chair of the festival, said this year's emphasis will be on Greek culture, as much as it is on the food, live music and dancing.
"We really wanted people to connect with the Greek culture, not just enjoy the fruits and hospitality, but to understand what the Greek culture means historically," she said. "So we added this whole component for people to really be Greek for four days and understand what it is."
Festival hours are from 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, noon to midnight Sunday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. Tickets, good for all four days of the festival, are $5 and $4 for senior citizens. Children under 12 will be admitted free.
Of course, food will play a big part at the festival. Offerings will include the legendary lamb roast, gyros, pastitsio, moussaka and spanikopita, plus Greek desserts. Plenty of vegetarian dishes will be available for those observing Greek fasting practices, Rankin said.
Also, more imported items from Greece will be available for purchase, including clothing, handmade jewelry and accessories and imported olive oil-based Greek bath and beauty products. There also will be fine art from a number of Greek painters, photographers and illustrators. Some of the artists, who work in a variety of media, belong to the church.
"We welcome the opportunity to share our culture in all forms — food, dance, music, faith and heritage — with central Ohio," Rankin said. "Ultimately, we share our love and hospitality. Everyone in our church has been preparing for this weekend: children practicing their dances, grandparents baking, artists creating. And it is all for our guests."