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It’s All Opa! To Me

Did someone mention Greek food? Well, if you go to the annual Odyssey Festival at Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Orange, Connecticut, it’s all about that Mediterranean fare. Let’s start with the pastries, life is short right? Heading up the baking team is pastry chairman, Helen Wachter, whom you’ll see in the video below. She’s also known as the pastry goddess, that makes sense, being Greek and all and she runs a tight ship. The pastries are all kept in a separate room at the festival, treated like gold, not everyone gets into this Fort Knox-like fortress, you have to know people.We knew people and sampled our way through. Truly the dedication to this kind of baking is in so many places a lost art, but not here.

Outside of pastry land on the lawn of Saint Barbara Church, the Greek folk music featuring the all important bouzouki is blaring. People dance and enjoy their heritage over the course of the four-day event. I am right at home having been lucky enough to go to Greece many times. Because of that I have wrapped my arms around all things Greek. The food, the dancing, the music, the mythology. If you have never taken part in Greek dancing feel free to join in here especially when the sun goes down, you’ll be among friends who will help you learn, having done this, it’s a lot of fun. The Greeks know how to have a good time. Here it comes, wait for it….Opa!

The inside of Saint Barbara is magnificent hand-painted religious frescoes are everywhere and the thousands of parishioners are very proud of their parish. The proceeds from the annual festival go right back to the church to keep it pristine. Once this festival is over, in this case their 30th, they start planning all over again for next year’s.It keeps getting bigger and better and you don’t have to be Greek to enjoy this event you just have to love having a good time.

Where ever you might find a Greek Festival make sure you go hungry so you can sample everything, this festival is open for business every Labor Day Weekend.



  1. Terri Miles
    Posted September 3, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    nicely done, Ann. You’ve captured the essence of the Greek Festival!

    • Ann Nyberg
      Posted September 3, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Terri, I had so much fun there, what a wonderful event, I know how hard everybody must work to make this happen every year, it’s just incredible!

  2. mary constantinidi
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Thank you Ann, as one of the workers at the Festival, when somebody talks about our work , made us proud . We love our Church, our traditions and our festival is the best.Opa!!!

    • Ann Nyberg
      Posted September 6, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Mary, you all do such a fabulous job with the festival, you have much to be proud about in establishing such rich traditions for generations to come. Thanks for reading!

  3. Nancy Laskos
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Opa! Almost like being there! The best to all who participated, including my grandson Nick, one of the dancers. Next year I will be there to watch.

  4. Georgia Marchitto
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    You have captured our profound love of Greek traditions, it appears you enjoyed yourself & embrace our culture and proud Greek heritage.

    • Ann Nyberg
      Posted September 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Georgia, I had a ball, and the food?, tremendous!