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Opa! VC Greek Festival comes to Camarillo

Members of the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church are cooking up a storm, preparing for this weekend’s Ventura County Greek Festival.  If you love all things Greek, there are several reasons you’ll want to hop on the 101 and head to Camarillo.

The 34th annual Ventura County Greek Festival comes to Camarillo June 22-24. It’s worth the drive from Los Angeles! (source: http://www.vcgreekfestival.org/)

For starters, the food is delicious! Authentic dishes, prepared with love in the church’s kitchen.  Gyros, pastichio (Greek lasagna), roast lamb and chicken, spinakopita, dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) and, my favorite, saganaki (flaming cheese), are just some of the yummy dishes on the menu.  The desserts are just as tasty, baklava, pastries and cookies, packaged to take home while they last.

There’s live music featuring the Olympians, Greek dancers, and everyone’s invited to get out on the dance floor.  Dancers from The Greek at the Harbor perform, and the gorgeous Aris Mikelatos’ will perform his famous table dance (ladies, you won’t want to miss this!).

Related: Take the Scenic Route to the VC Greek Festival – Malibu Drive

Another great feature of this festival is that it’s intimate, there’s plenty of free parking and it’s easy to stop by to enjoy a delicious meal, music, perhaps a little dancing, and be on your way.  The weather in Camarillo is perfect year round, it’s cooler than Los Angeles, and sunnier than Ventura. Admission is $3, or print free admission tickets on their website.  The Ventura County Greek Festival kicks off Friday night and runs through the weekend (June 22-24). Click here for festival hours and the event schedule.

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Camarillo is located off the 101 (Ventura) freeway,  30 minutes north of the San Fernando Valley and 20 minutes south of Ventura.  So, if you’re heading up from Los Angeles, you could stop by the VC Greek Festival, then head up to the Ventura Harbor or Ventura Pier to enjoy the rest of your day.


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Related: Along the way, stop by Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks

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Gardens of the World, Conejo Valley

Experience a free oasis of floral & botanical beauty located off the 101 freeway in Thousand Oaks, just a 30 minute drive from the San Fernando Valley.

Gardens of the World

Gardens of the World is tucked away along the main road that connects Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks, just across from the Performing Arts Center. The goal of this beautiful place, which is free to visitors, is to ‘bring the beauty of the world to the Conejo Valley.’  But, it’s easy to miss while driving down Thousand Oaks Boulevard, so be sure to bring the address with you when you come.  Gardens of the World is such a hidden treasure, that even some locals don’t even know it’s here.

A stunning, multi-level cascading fountain greets you at the entrance, and sets the tone for a peaceful experience.  Stroll through English and rose gardens, then follow a winding sidewalk lined with Japanese cherry blossom trees past the bandstand to the top of the gardens.  A shady picnic area overlooks the French Garden.   Here’s a map.

Relax on a bench next to the pink flowers on the Japanese cherry blossom trees at Gardens of the World

There’s also a Japanese pagoda and pond filled with coy fish anxious to greet visitors, perhaps in hopes that they might be treated to a snack.

The Mission Courtyard pays tribute to California’s early history.  There’s a bronze statue of Father Junipero Serra, the priest who founded many of the area’s missions, on the lawn out front of the adobe walls. Inside, you’ll find murals of California’s missions.

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