The summer-festival season will wind down on a Mediterranean note with a long-observed tradition of food, music and dancing.

The 46th annual Columbus Greek Festival will be held Friday, Aug. 31, through Monday, Sept. 3, at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 555 N. High St., just north of downtown Columbus.

"Our challenge is always to provide a great experience from the standpoint of food and all (festival-goers) have come to expect," said Stacey Stathulis, spokesman for the festival. "And I think we've achieved that."

The event has more than one way to dine. Patrons can stroll the festival grounds and eat street-style foods, such as gyros, souvlaki and baklava.

Those with heartier appetites can opt for such substantial foods as roasted lamb, moussaka and pastitsio -- all made by volunteers and chefs in the church's kitchen.

Cooking demonstrations also will be held throughout the weekend, and audience members who want to make the food at home can purchase the ingredients at the festival deli.

For entertainment, bouzouki player George Karras of Dayton will return to the festival, playing solo and as part of the Kakias family band.

"George is a great showman in and of his own right," Stathulis said.

Those attending will be invited to dance during live musical performances or learn traditional Greek folk dances, performed by costumed children and adults from the Greek community's dance troupe.

In addition, handmade jewelry, clothes, fine art and beauty products will be sold inside the church, which displays intricate mosaics and marble fixtures.

"For as much work as it takes to prepare and put on the festival every year, it really is a joy to welcome people to our home, our spiritual home, each year," said Harry Ruska, co-chairman of the festival. "Offering food and hospitality is the best way for us to thank central Ohio for coming to our festival every year."

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