After canceling its event last year due to the pandemic, Houston's annual Greek Festival made its comeback this past weekend. Held by the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the fest began over 50 years ago and has become the church's largest fundraiser. From families to members of the congregation, everyone came to show their support for the festival's grand return.
“We have been coming for the last twenty years,” says festival attendee Laura Chapline. “We come every year, it’s our family tradition. It’s so much fun with delicious food and lovely people. It’s just truly a good time.”
Those attending walked into another world with traditional music, a gift shop with Greek imported items, live dance performances, and desirable wine at every corner. Vendors like Ammos and Sea, Olivation soap, Athonite Holy Icons, That’s So Me!, Penelope’s of Greece, and Kosmima participated.
The festival provided an aroma of exceptional dishes; guests were invited to try traditional Greek plates prepared by members of the church. Among offerings were spanakopita (spinach and cheese-filled puff pastry), dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat) and pastitsio (baked macaroni with beef filling and Romano cheese with bécha-Mel sauce). In addition, 10 interconnected grills served mouth-watering souvlaki (tenderloin). And for dessert, attendees enjoyed the Greek take on donut holes – Loukoumades; fried dough with hot honey, syrup, powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Towards the end of the night, a 30-minute dance performance took place using traditional Greek Folk music and choreography from all parts of the country. Performers put on a show full of clapping, intricate feet and leg work, lots of smiles and a cheerful audience who didn’t shy away from dancing along.
“I think my favorite part of the festival is the dancing,” said festival-goer and church member, Pahno Georgeton. “The dancing is really awesome to see because my whole family's from Greece and so you get to really see a cultural representation of that.”