Festival season is now in full swing. After the celebration of Easter, Greeks and non-Greeks alike across the country are ready for the fun and food that is a highlight on the community calendar. Along with the souvlakia and loukoumades, music and dance are often part of the celebration, upholding the traditions of our Greek culture and heritage. This weekend, there are several festivals to attend, including the Greenville Greek Festival at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Greenville, SC, the St. Nicholas Greek Food Festival at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Bethlehem, PA, the 33rd Annual Dionysos Greek Festival of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in New Britain, CT, and the Greek Jewish Festival on the Lower East Side of New York City.
The Greenville Greek Festival at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Greenville, SC features a huge menu of traditional Greek foods. From classic festival favorites like gyros, souvlakia, and loukoumades, there are dining options including a sit down dinner in the Hellenic Center, and a drive-through for those who prefer to take their Greek food to go. The outdoor coffee shop will serve pastries and coffee. Beginning at 5pm on Friday and continuing through Sunday, Greek music and dance will be performed at the amphitheater. Tours of the cathedral with explanations of church history and icons will take place every 20 minutes during the festival. The festival hours are Thursday 11am to 8pm, Friday and Saturday 10:30am to 10pm, and Sunday 11:30am to 8pm. Drive-through hours are Thursday and Friday 10:30am to 7pm. Admission to the festival is $1.The St. Nicholas Greek Food Festival takes place this Thursday through Sunday at 1607 W. Union Boulevard, Bethlehem, PA. Those attending will enjoy gyros, moussaka, pastitsio, souvlaki, and baklava, as well as traditional Greek music and dancing. The kids tent offers activities to entertain the children. Tours of St. Nicholas Cathedral will also be available. The hours are Thursday noon to 9pm, Friday and Saturday 11am to 9pm, and Sunday 11am to 6pm. More information can be found on the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Bethlehem, PA website.
The 33rd Annual Dionysos Greek Festival of the St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 301 West Main Street in New Britain, CT, runs this weekend from Friday through Sunday. Artemis Nemphos, church treasurer, the festival’s volunteer chairperson, and parish member council since 1980 observed, “Greek people love their music, their food, and they love to celebrate.” He added, “You do not have to be Greek to have a good time.”
More than 5,000 people are expected to attend the festival, which is known for the quality of its food. As Nemphos noted, “We don’t skimp on anything. Everything is made fresh and on site.”
Favorites such as lamb and moussaka will also be on the menu, two of Nemphos’ personal favorites. The moussaka is according to Nemphos, “out of this world.” Harry Sitilides, in charge of advertising for the festival, has been attending for 20 years. He said, “There is just something about authentic Greek food. You cannot find the food we sell here during the festival in many restaurants. The food here is special.”
Music and dance are also part of the festival. Children in traditional costume will be performing traditional dances from the island and mainland of Greece on a 40 by 50 foot dance floor. Vendors will be on hand, selling various items, including jewelry. Raffle tickets, $2 each, will be on sale. The funds raised during the festival will go to the church. The St. George Greek Orthodox Church festival hours are Friday 11 am to 11 pm, Saturday 11 am to midnight, and Sunday from 11 am to 10 pm.
The Greek Jewish Festival on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, hosted by Kehila Kedosha Janina, the only Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere, takes place on Sunday, May 22 at Broome Street between Allen and Eldridge Streets from noon to 6pm. Festival goers will enjoy kosher Greek food, traditional Greek dancing, an outdoor marketplace, and tours the restored synagogue. While only in its second year, the festival attracted a good crowd in its first year and organizers expect an even better turnout this year.