Greek Festival Draws Crowds to Oak Park

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Greek Festival Draws Crowds to Oak Park
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By Robert Bernstein

After the non-stop action on three stages of the French Festival, the Greek Festival seemed rather sleepy.

Here are all of my videos and photos from the 2018 Santa Barbara Greek Festival.

However, the Greek dance team of Dimitri Arabatzi and Ozzy Medellin from "The Greek" restaurant in Ventura certainly woke things up for a bit!

Dimitri did some high-energy acrobatics including this hand stand.

And some high kicks scary close to audience volunteers!

At times he seemed to defy gravity!

It was hard to find a place to sit. The French Festival had a big shade canopy, with many rows of chairs. None of that at the Greek Festival. People cooked in the few seats around the edge. But, for awhile, Dimitri Arabatzi and Ozzy Medellin held everyone's attention!

A few people took refuge up on the shaded hill behind the stage

Then Dimitri and Ozzy did some creative moves with full wine glasses!

Here are some videos of their action!
Dimitri and Ozzy warming up the crowd:

Dimitri doing the Wine Glass Dance

Dimitri and Ozzy doing some high energy acrobatics

Ozzy's turn at the Wine Glass Dance

In the end Dimitri and Ozzy recruited audience members to join in with some Ouzo and Wine Glass action!

There was one other short performance set by the young Zoi Dancers

Here are two short videos of their performances

The rest of the time the stage was open for folk dancing. At times the band Levendia offered live music. Otherwise it was recorded music.

Of course, many people were there for the food. Including this array of Greek pastries

The Greek Festival is still worth a visit. But many of us remember the early days of the Greek Festival in the 1980s. Remember the belly dancing? The many different food vendors? And, most especially: Remember George Alexiades performing his amazing table dance?

Any chance of bringing back some of that special energy to next year's Greek Festival?

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sbrobert Aug 11, 2018 04:00 PM
Greek Festival Draws Crowds to Oak Park

PII: Yes, George Alexiades was the owner of La Plaka. He did the table dance at his restaurant and at the Greek Festival. What was the disaster that you experienced?

pii Aug 05, 2018 08:44 PM
Greek Festival Draws Crowds to Oak Park

There was a Greek restaurant near the railroad station. Called La Plaka, I think. There was dancing there. The owner did some dance demonstrations. One with a table in his mouth. On one of my first dates, I took a girl there for dinner. It was a disaster of an evening.

sbrobert Aug 05, 2018 07:48 PM
Greek Festival Draws Crowds to Oak Park

Thank you FLICKA for the kind words. And thank you for the history. I have been attending the Greek Festival since it began in Oak Park in the 1980s. In those early years the organizers put in a lot of work and had memorably impressive entertainment. Thanks for letting us know about the history before that time.

Flicka Aug 01, 2018 11:24 AM
Greek Festival Draws Crowds to Oak Park

Thanks for all of these photos and videos. The Greeks started with the first ethnic festival here. Before their fundraiser was an event at Earl Warren. Barbeque dinner, all free drinks, and a band from L.A. for dancing. $5.00! Then it went up to $7.50. Finally they settled on a festival.

Roger Aug 11, 2018 06:30 PM
Greek Festival Draws Crowds to Oak Park

I used to work security there in the 80's I never had any problems(except for the porta potty incident) good food entertainment..

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