I’m here. I finally made it. For 364 days out of the year I eagerly await the arrival of the Greek Festival. I am content and slap-happy on the 365th day only to start the cycle over again the very next day, dreaming of Greek pastries and horos and honey scented air.
I married into a Greek family and although at first spanakopita was a mouthful to say even better was a mouthful of spanakopita. I learned quite a bit from my Greek family about the meaningfulness and warmth that should surround a dinner table. The heart that goes into making foods from scratch and enjoying them with those you love is one of the richest and most wise ways to experience family and friends. For this, I am always thankful to them.
With that said- Opa! Yassas! Welcome to the 30th annual Greek Festival held in the Montford District at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church! I am so excited to be sharing with you my favourite things in life; food, music and dance.
Let us start with the food, shall we? Truth be told, I come here for the mousakka (moose-ahh-kah). Mousakka is a scrumptious lasagna-esk dish with layers of lamb, béchamel sauce, eggplant and signature Greek herbs and spices. If I could marry a food, this would be the love of my life. Luckily, nosh nuptials are not recognized anywhere in the world otherwise I’d be a hopeless cheater.
My husband is fond of the patstitsio which is a baked pasta dish but no greek meal would be complete for him without his nuptial nosh of choice, souvlaki. Souvlaki is skewered meat, usually lamb, served with pita bread and ztatziki sauce. He spent many summers in Greece and chowing down on souvlaki is one of his fondest memories while there.
The menu that the volunteers create has plenty more foods to try. Inside of the Agora (market) you will find leg of lamb, Greek meatballs, spanakopita and gyros as well as a mind dizzying assortment of pastries. Try them all! It’s worth the sugar coma, I promise. Our favourites are the galatobouriko and kataifi.
The Kafenion tent is located just outside the Agora and serves two types of coffee; traditional Greek and American. Also made fresh in the tent are delicious batches of loukoumades. Loukoumades are basically round Greek donuts, dipped in warm honey and sprinkled with chopped walnuts and cinnamon. They are amazing. Just be careful walking your plate to the table as they have a tendency to roll off. I nearly cried one year as half of mine rolled into the dirt. I couldn’t even use the 5 second rule. It was a true Greek tragedy.
Now let’s grab a glass of Retsina or Mythos and enjoy the horos! Horos means “dance” in Greek. Authentic Greek horos is performed in traditional costume by the churches adult and youth groups to the lively tunes of Nick Demos & The Greek Islanders.
Greek philosopher Plato says, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” Seeing the light and spirit rising in people as they let go of worries and anxieties and just enjoy the music truly brings Plato’s words home. Music not only brings forth flight of mind and soul, it also grounds us and unifies us in community.
Greek Fest is a free community even held at the end of September every year. If you are ready for some fun and entertaining cultural exploration then you should come by and make some memories with us. Opa!
Written by Kate Randall