Celebrating Greekness


It’s time to go Greek once again up in the hills of Oakland this weekend, May 20-22 as the Oakland Greek community at Ascension Cathedral offers up its hospitality on a grand scale for the 44th time at its Oakland Greek Festival. They’ve come a long way since their debut in the early 70s when folks would gather at the then Oakland Auditorium to feast on Greek delicacies. They even turned Jack London Square into Constitution Square for a week and restaurants served Greek pastries to celebrate the occasion.

This year, in addition to all of the fabulous homemade food and wonderful Greek wines and beer, the festival celebrates is roots in sports. After all, to quote actor Michael Constantine in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “everything comes from the Greek,” right? Enter the Olympic Bar (formerly known as the Taverna) where the festival welcomes the folks from 95.7 The Game along with one of its own, Anna Kagarakis, who serves as the station’s Update Anchor and Co-Host of “Franco & Kag’s” as well as host for the TV sports magazine show “GameOn” on CHN, a Sideline Reporter, and the host for the lifestyle show “Slice of Life.”

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Kagarakis is a SF State University graduate in Broadcasting and has been in the broadcasting arena for over 14 years. This weekend she joins her Greek community as its roving hostess and joins Mayor Libby Schaaf on Friday at 6 p.m. for the festival’s official opening ceremonies. Anna will be hosting and posting on social media (@AnnaKags, @OakGrkFest and on Facebook).

On Saturday, 95.7 The Game’s Chris Townsend brings his A’s Pre-Game Dugout Show live from the festival’s Olympic Bar along with his Post-Game A’s Talk Show following the Oakland Athletics vs. New York Yankee’s games. Festival-goers can join in the live festivities while feasting on gyros, lamb sandwiches, spanakopita, souvlaki, loukoumades, and more.

To enrich your experience, traditional Greek dancing performances from the Cathedral’s award-winning dance troupes start as young as age three and up to its adult dancers who perform all weekend long. Live Greek music on two stages and choral performances in the Cathedral by the Ascension Liturgical Choir are featured as well.

The Oakland Greek Festival is located at 4700 Lincoln Avenue on the beautiful grounds of Ascension Cathedral. The location offers sweeping panoramic views of the Bay Area and spectacular sunsets. Festival hours are Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $6 and children under 12 are free. Free admission on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Sunday from 5 p.m. to closing. Bring one can of food to donate to the Alameda Food Bank and receive $1 off of your admission, per person, all weekend. A’s fans attending the A’s vs. Texas Rangers or New York Yankees this week can also bring their ticket stub in for free admission throughout the weekend.

There is plenty of free parking available at the Mormon Temple, Ability Now Bay Area (formerly Cerebral Palsy Center), and Head Royce School with free shuttle service provided. Premium parking is available in the Festival’s Parking Pavilion for $15. For more details, call 510-531-3400 or visit oaklandgreekfestival.com. See you there! Opa!

MUSICAL NOTES. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles invasion and their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, the Blackhawk Chorus presents a two-hour show of the group’s most famous music. With 140 voices along with a live band, the Chorus will sing songs that invite audience participation including “Yesterday”, “Imagine”, “Ticket to Ride”, and “All You Need is Love”, among others. The first performance is slated for the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek on May 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $17 for children under 12. Purchase tickets by calling 925-943-SHOW (7469). The second performance is May 22 at 4:30 p.m. at St. Joan of Arc Church, 2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd. in San Ramon. Ticket prices are the same, however, one hundred percent of the proceeds of this show will benefit the Blackhawk Chorus Music Education Fund which sponsors music programs in local High Schools. For more details and to order tickets, visit www.blackhawkchorus.org.

WEEKEND SCENE: The Taj Mahal Trio Friday-Sunday, Leon Russell Monday, Tuesday at Yoshi’s Jack London Square Oakland … Berkeley Bluegrass Festival Friday-Sunday at Freight & Salvage Berkeley … Jim Cordiss, Friday, Saturday at Zio Fraedo’s Pleasant Hill … Lucero featuring Luis Salcedo, Dillon Vado Friday, Stephanie Crawford and Trio Saturday, Dick Hindman Sunday at California Jazz Conservatory Berkeley … Felsen Friday, Peter Anastos and Iter Saturday, Blues Jam Monday at Armando’s Martinez … Michael Feinstein honoring Alan and Marilyn Bergman through Sunday at Feinstein’s at the Nikko San Francisco.

COMEDY SCENE: Bill Bellamy through Sunday to Tommy T’s Comedy Club Pleasanton … Pablo Francisco through Sunday at Cobb’s Comedy Club San Francisco … Brandon T. Jackson Friday, Saturday, SF Comedy Showcase Sunday at the Punch Line San Francisco.

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