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Greek Fest comes to Bayou St. John May 25-27

Toga wearers get in free Sunday at the Lakeview fest

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The Hellenic Cultural Center and Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral don't sit on bright blue waters like the Aegean Sea, but Bayou St. John is fitting for a special event at this year's New Orleans Greek Festival. To mark the city's tricentennial, members of the Isle de Jean Charles Band of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw nation will join in a re-enactment of Bienville meeting indigenous inhabitants in 1699 and exploring waters around New Orleans. The re-enactment is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, and the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw also will present displays of artifacts throughout the festival May 25-27.

The Memorial Day weekend festival always features canoeing on the bayou, traditional Greek dancing, an outdoor music stage, food, crafts and more. For kids, there's an Athenian playground with a climbing wall, games, large inflatables and face painting. There also are cathedral tours and history talks each day.

Festival food vendors offer roasted lamb, Greek dishes and an assortment of baked goods such as baklava and loukoumades. This year, organizers have added more vegan and vegetarian items, such as faro and lentil salad with skordalia, a garlicky potato dip.

On Sunday, attendees wearing togas get free admission, and there's a toga contest at 6:30 p.m. that day. Festival hours are 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Admission $8, free for children ages 11 and younger. Hellenic Cultural Center, 1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd., (504) 282-0259; www.greekfestnola.com.

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