It's party time at St. Basil’s Greek Orthodox Church, the closest Eastern Orthodox church to Mission Viejo.
Mardi Gras has come and gone for churches on the Western calendar. But it's just starting March 16 for Eastern churches.
St. Basil's will host its third annual Mardi Gras Apokries event March 16 at Family Classic Cars in San Juan Capistrano.
Apokries is a fundraiser that supports and facilitates Greek heritage and Greek Orthodox traditions, said event coordinator Steve Dafnis, one of the church's founders.
Attendees come cloaked in full Mardi Gras garb and enjoy a night filled with Greek everything: salads, fruits, traditional dishes, a band and dancing, homemade pastries and other activities that range from a casino night to face-painting.
Prizes will be given for best costume for both kids and adults.
"We are still gathering prizes (for the raffle), but for last year’s event we had autographed footballs, weekend hotel stays, electronics, coupons for local tan, meals and auto detailing,” said Dafnis. “We expect to have great prizes for this year’s event as well.”
Last year St. Basil's Apokries attracted 300 visitors, their biggest crowd yet.
St. Basil has only been in San Juan Capistrano for nine years but belongs to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America which has 540 parishes and 1.5 million Greek Orthodox Christians nationwide.