Get ready for cries of "Opa!" and delicious, hard-to-pronounce food — Ottawa's annual Greek Festival is here.
Now in its 36th year, GreekFest — which starts Thursday and runs through Aug. 23 —is expected to draw crowds of 80,000 to its Hog's Back Park site for traditional cuisine, dance demonstrations, music, and its famous nightly Zorba show.
"Our motto is to 'Live a Day the Greek Way,'" said GreekFest general manager Erin Giakoumelos. "The festival's sights, tastes and sounds are a great way to experience Greek culture and cuisine."
Giakoumelos said that while the annual festival is an opportunity for the Hellenic community in Ottawa to get together, GreekFest is open to everyone, regardless of their nationality or culture.
Along with entertainment and arrays of Greek dishes, the festival is also offering cooking demonstrations, Greek dance lessons, Greek seminars and wine tasting, and a variety of children's activities. Theme days will also be a part of the 11-day festival, with an Ottawa Food Bank fundraiser, a multicultural night and the "A Night in Athens" night.
Free shuttle services are being offered from St. Pius X School.