Say, “Opa!”

Shanley Tag

Food, entertainment, and fun are featured at the annual Annapolis Greek Festival.

 

The Annapolis Greek Festival is a weekend-long celebration in Annapolis that my family and I look forward to attending together every year at the beginning of June. The festival features an abundance of Greek food (gyros, pastitsio, loukoumades, oh my!) and activities such as shopping, music/dancing, and a children’s area, which offers henna tattoos and face painting. Accompanied by free admission to the festival itself, visiting on a warm Friday evening at the start of summer for an authentic Greek experience was a no-brainer! The festival also offers free tours of the beautiful Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church where it is located.

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Arriving at dinnertime, I was hungry, so I made a beeline for the food. Options for main courses included plaki (white fish in tomato sauce), chicken oreganato (herbed rotisserie chicken), pastitsio (Greek lasagna), and all came with fasoulakia (green beans with tomatoes) and rice pilaf on the side. You can also choose from other main course options in the tents outside such as gyros and souvlaki (sliced or chopped meats and toppings wrapped in pita bread), or purchase additional sides such as Greek side salads and dolmas (rice-stuffed grape leaves). I opted for the chicken oreganato with fasoulakia, rice pilaf, Greek salad, and dolmas on the side, and enjoyed everything under the large tent outside. All of the food was savory, flavorful, and delicious, and I enjoyed sampling a bit of each traditional Greek dish.

Next, I decided to check out the local vendors in the shopping tent, and was delighted to find all sorts of Greek gifts available for purchase. Homemade Greek dresses resembling togas, various olive oils, high-quality jewelry of all prices, hand-painted bowls, tiny Greek dolls, and endless other knickknacks and tchotchkes were for sale from the assorted booths, and I myself bought a gold ring in the shape of a lotus flower for $15. While there, I also briefly observed the kids’ area, which was close by but secluded from the rest of the festival and featured moon bounces, face painting and henna tattoos, a raffle, games, and more available for all children at the festival.

Finally, I finished the evening by sampling some desserts with my family and visiting the Ss. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church as we left. For dessert, we decided to try loukoumades (light and fluffy fried dough balls covered in honey), Yia Yia’s rice pudding (homemade rice pudding doused in cinnamon), and finikia (honey walnut cookies). We all approved of these homemade, sugary pastries and desserts (“Glika”, in Greek) just as much as our dinner choices. Before leaving, we walked through the beautiful church and gazed upon the gorgeously detailed paintings along the walls and ceilings, enjoying the scenery and already anxiously awaiting next year’s Annapolis Greek Festival.

The Annapolis Greek Festival is an annual event which runs from Thursday to Sunday during the first weekend of June. It is located at Ss. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church at 2747 Riva Road in Annapolis, Maryland (21401). Keep an eye out next year for the dates and times of the 2019 Annapolis Greek Festival!

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