Cravings Blog

Glendi festival returns to Manatee for 33rd year

The 33rd Annual St. Barbara Greek Festival will be held Feb. 9-12 on the church grounds in Sarasota.
The 33rd Annual St. Barbara Greek Festival will be held Feb. 9-12 on the church grounds in Sarasota.

As far as everyone at the St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church is concerned next weekend, everything is Greek to them.

The 33rd annual Glendi festival, a celebration of Greek food, life and culture, starts Thursday at the church, 7671 N. Lockwood Ridge Road. Beyond all of the olives, feta cheese, spanakopita and saganaki that guests care to eat, they’ll find traditional Hellenic dancing and Yiayia’s Attic, the place at the festival for bargain hunters.

This year the church is offering a three-day pass to the festival for $4. One $4 pass covers Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Changes to this year’s food line should make it more efficient, said Margaret Comminos, head of the festival’s marketing committee.

“As far as the flow of traffic and the fact that people will have hot food instead of walking through the line and their food getting cold,” Comminos said. Popi Ameres, the founding chef of Popi’s Place, has helped prepare the festival’s grand food spread in past years and stepped up to help again this year. She and a crew of other volunteers prepare everything except the pastries, which are brought in from Tarpon Springs.

Admission to the festival Thursday is free, though attendees are invited to make at-will donations to benefit Mothers Helping Mothers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families in need.

Greek festival attendees are invited to visit the church’s sacred sanctuary, where educational guided tours begin every hour on the hour between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Adventurous festival-goers can learn traditional Greek dances from the church’s Hellenic dancers.

For parents who want to attend the festival and bring children, the festival has a Kids Adventure Zone with a special menu including nachos, hot dogs, popcorn and ice cones. Parking will be on church grounds and when the space fills up, attendees are encouraged to park one mile north at the Church of the Trinity. A free shuttle will be available Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday to take people from the alternate parking to St. Barbara.

For more information about the church and the festival, visit

Janelle O’Dea: 941-745-7095, @jayohday

St. Barbara Greek Festival hours and admission


$4 per adult, children under age 12 are free


Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday, Noon to 8 p.m.