62 reasons to love the Dayton Greek Festival

The Dayton Greek Festival celebrated 61 years in 2019, at The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park North in Dayton. TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

You know you have a good thing going after more than 60 years.

This is definitely the case with Dayton’s Greek Festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, which is celebrating 62 years this weekend.

We started this list when the festival turned 60 a couple years back, and have found it’s pretty easy to keep adding one more reason to love every year.

While the 2020 Dayton Greek Festival looks a lot different during the pandemic, festival volunteers have worked tirelessly to offer the Greek Fest Express, with some festival favorites served up to go through a carryout service.

ExploreOPA! Get Dayton Greek Festival eats and treats to go this weekend

This weekend is the perfect time to think about all the things we love about this Dayton festival tradition (and what to look forward to when Dayton gets the full festival experience again in the future) and some of the things we will miss this year.

So order up some Greek eats and treats to go and help us come up with reason No. 63 to add next year.

The Dayton Greek Festival has been a beloved Dayton festival tradition for 62 years. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

What we love about the Dayton Greek Festival (and some of the things we will miss this year)

1) The gorgeous setting.

2) The live music.

3) The dance performances.

4) The imported beer, wine and goods from Greece.

5) The shopping.

6) The raffle with a $5,000 cash prize.

The Friday lunch rush at the 2015 Dayton Greek Festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. (Photo by Amelia Robinson)

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

7) Friday carryout lunches.

8) The cooking demonstrations.

9) The costumes.

10) The views of downtown, The Dayton Art Institute and The Masonic Temple.

11) The communal dining.

12) The gyros.

13) The baklava — 12,500 pieces are made!

Baklava for the Dayton Greek Festival, which is celebrating 62 years this year. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

14) The Koulouria (the classic Greek butter cookie).

15) The Loukoumades (honey puffs, similar to doughnut holes).

16) The moussaka (a casserole-like dish made with eggplant, meat, pureed tomato and onlon).

17) The spanakopita (spinach, feta, onions and egg wrapped in filo dough).

18) The dolmades (stuffed grape leaves). {We can’t wait to see these return in the future!}

19) The pastitsio (like a lasagna made with meat, tomato, cheese and spices, with tubular pasta instead of pasta sheets).

20) The Tiropita (blended cheeses wrapped in a buttered filo dough).

The 60th annual Greek Festival at The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park North in Dayton. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

21) The Greek salads.

22) All that feta cheese. Feta's betta!

23) The homemade Greek salad dressing.

24) The true start of fall festival season.

25) Zorba Zone for kids activities.

26) The dedicated volunteers who help put it on.

27) The food tent.

28) The church tours.

29) That gorgeous church.

ExplorePeek inside the beautiful Dayton church behind this weekend’s Greek Fest
The Bishop's throne (left) is flanked by stained glass windows just before the sanctuary at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park North in Dayton. LISA POWELL / STAFF

30) The sense of community.

31) The Greek lamb shank dinner.

32) The pork souvlaki dinner.

33) The Finikia (honey dipped cookies with a walnut filling).

34) The Kataifi (shredded wheat-like buttered pastry topped with walnuts and almonds and covered in syrup).

35) The Karithopita (walnut cake with syrup).

36) The Tsoureki (braided sweet Greek holiday bread).

37) Feta and watermelon salads.

38) Baklava sundaes!

39) The ouzo slushies.

Bottle of Karonis ouzo.

Credit: Alan Benson

Credit: Alan Benson

40) The people watching.

41) The fact you can buy plenty of food and desserts to take home and freeze.

42) The Greek Tycoon Band.

43) The merchandise.

44) The Kefenion and wonderfully strong Greek coffee.

45) The Greek fries.

46) The Greek pizza.

47) The wine garden.

The 60th annual Greek Festival at The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park North in Dayton. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

48) The Saganaki (flaming cheese .... mmmmm ... flaming cheese).

49) The hundreds of pounds of butter that's used.

50) Greek wines by the bottle or the glass.

The 60th annual Greek Festival at The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park North in Dayton. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

51) The Greek Beer

52) Kalamata olives.

53) The reasonable cost to get in.

54) The variety pastry box — there's something for everyone.

The 60th annual Greek Festival took place over the weekend from Friday, Sept 7 to Sunday, Sept 9 at The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park North in Dayton. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

55) The generations of families working together for their church.

56) Chocolate baklava.

57) The original skyline chili dog — the original recipe was created by a Greek.

58) Drinking and eating for a good cause.

59) Being Greek for a day (or a weekend).

60) It’s 62 years old and going strong.

62) Adaptability when things don’t go according to plan, whether that’s three days of non-stop rain or a pandemic.

63) OPA!

The 60th annual Greek Festival at The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park North in Dayton. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

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