NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk’s oldest and largest ethnic festival is back for the first time since 2019. Thousands are expected to come out to Greek Fest this weekend.

Greek Fest attracts close to 10,000 each year. With lots of people, comes lots of traffic. If you drive down Granby Street this weekend you’ll notice the barricades. If you want to beat the crowd, organizers recommend coming to the festival earlier in the day.

“I am so excited to be back at Greek Fest,” said Lauren Ciampoli who attends every year.

After a three-year pandemic hiatus, Greek Fest is back in Norfolk.

“We all love a party,” said Royce Ambrose of Norfolk.

Ambrose’s friend Jeannie Kartis was born in Greece.

“I’ve been coming to this church for about 50 years. I was born and raised in Athens, Greece. My parents are Greek American,” said Jeannie Kartis.

John Katsias of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral Church oversees the annual festival.

“We’re very excited about embracing and sharing our Greek heritage with the Norfolk community. We’ve been a festival for over 30 years,” Katsias told 10 On Your Side.

Housed under one of the largest tents in the city, people from all backgrounds come together in celebration of Norfolk’s Greek heritage.

“At night when it gets dark, it becomes more of a party. Almost like you’re in Greece,” Kartis explained.

You can even learn traditional Greek dances–a perfect way to work off all the food.

“The loukoumades. They are incredible. You can smell them. So happy to be here for that and the pastries and the music and like I’m here with my friends and you always run into people you know and it’s a great time,” Ciampoli stated.

If you haven’t had a chance to explore Greek Fest the event continues from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

“Come for a late lunch, an early dinner or both,” Katsias said.

Norfolk police will be directing traffic throughout the weekend. Three years ago a pedestrian was killed leaving the festival when she was hit in the crosswalk. If you’re taking Granby Street this weekend, drive slowly and pay attention.