Informative tours add to Greek Festival’s food, fireworks and fun

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  Submitted/A junior dance troupe performs at a previous Greek festival in Egg Harbor Township. Submitted/A junior dance troupe performs at a previous Greek festival in Egg Harbor Township.  EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is set to open the gates to its 30th Annual Greek Festival on Thursday, June 5.

Sure, there will be delicious Greek food, upbeat Greek music and dance performances, rides and fireworks outside the Egg Harbor Township church, but the event organizers wish to invite attendees to step inside and to take a short tour back through history as well.

Bob Coste of Ocean City, a youth teacher, reader and cantor at the church, said the staff will be leading free 20-minute tours of the church as part of the festivities. The tours, now in their 15th year of being offered, are informative from historical, religious and architectural perspectives.

“We talk about Christian history, back to the first millennium, and how they all started as one faith,” Coste said. “I explain the architecture of our church, the symbolism and the relevance of our iconography.”

Coste said the tours give the church a chance to dispel misconceptions.

“Other branches have said we worship graven images and icons.” 

He said in truth, the Greek Orthodox Church venerates what the icons stand for, how they represent larger beliefs.

“We will cover the doctrinal aspects and then there will be a question and answer session,” he said.

The church, with approximately 200 active families, is diverse, Coste said.

“We have Serbians and Syrians in addition to Greeks. We are always outward looking, not inward looking,” he said. "The church was started as a immigrant church. Those who were fleeing persecution in the 1800s to 1900s came to America and just wanted to be left alone. They just wanted to host their weddings and baptisms.”

Coste said the tours are information and are not meant to try to convert anyone to the faith.

“Even if you are a nonbeliever, an agnostic or an atheist, you can’t help acknowledge the facts that the church has had relevance in history.”

Tours are free and are offered through the festival.

If You Go

The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church will host its 30th Annual Greek Festival June 5-8 at the church, located at the corner of Mill Road and Ridge Avenue, Egg Harbor Township.

The festivities begin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 5 and Friday, June 6 and noon on Saturday, June 7 and Sunday, June 8.

Greek cuisine, outdoor dining, church tours, Greek folk dance performances, Greek music, Hellenic imports, fireworks (on June 5 and 8 at 9:30 p.m.), games and amusement rides.

Free parking. Admission is $1.

All-you-can-ride specials will be held on Thursday and Sunday for $17. Free for children under 5 years old.

A full schedule can be viewed at www.TheGreekFestival.info.


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