The 61st annual Greek Festival is upon us, and it’s one not to miss.
This year’s three-day celebration features all of your old favorites in the food and booze categories.
But there’s more to love than just the food. This festival brings together several aspects of Greek culture, and asks you to join in.
So, what makes Dayton’s Greek Festival tick after 60 years? Here is your complete guide to find all the answers.
Last year’s festival was hit with poor weather over the weekend. Festival organizers offered carryout services on Saturday and free admission on Sunday after heavy rains. They sold bulk items of some of the festival’s best treats to take home and bake. This year, organizers and attendees are no doubt hoping for good weather so everyone can enjoy all the festival has to offer.
>> INTERACTIVE WEATHER RADAR: Get the latest Dayton-area Doppler 7 Radar
A couple insider tips:
1. Take a tour: You’ll gain at least a small amount of appreciation for history and architecture with a tour of the gorgeous Byzantine-style church. The church, which was completed in 1985 after about 20 years of construction, is a sight to behold. The Annunciation Church draws members from Springfield, to Middletown, to Richmond, Ind. If you haven’t yet seen the beautiful church, this is the year to do it, so be sure to get on one of the tours they do throughout the weekend, which features a short presentation on the Orthodox faith. I promise, you will be wowed!
>> PHOTOS: Tour the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
2. Take it from us: Get your Greek pastries early as many of them are sold out by Saturday night. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
3. Dance the night away: If you’ve ever attended a Greek wedding or other event, you know that it doesn’t matter whether you’re blood-related or not — by the end of the night, you’re dancing around with the entire room like you’re part of the family. Start out by watching the professionals, then join in.
4. For the 21+ crowd, get to know Greek wine and beer: Sample varieties of wine and beer from various Greek regions. A few stateside seasonal craft beers will also be available.
5. Find treasures: The Grecian Boutique in the Memorial Center is like walking into a bazaar on the streets of Athens: Find anything from specialty fine jewelry to the popular coin skirts.
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
Members of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church have been working hard preparing the food, beginning with the delicious lasagna-like pastitso, moussaka (eggplant casserole), dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), lamb shank dinner, slow-roasted in a flavorful sauce, and delicious gyro pita-wrapped sandwiches.
Back by popular demand this year are Saganaki, the famous Greek way to prepare fried cheese, and Ouzo Slushies.
If you prefer meatless dishes, try the vegetarian pastitsio, spinach and cheese pies in phyllo dough, veggie gyros, Greek salads topped with feta cheese and Kalamata olives.
The full menu can be found on the festival’s website, and they are sure to have something you’ll love.
ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC
The “Greek Tycoons” and group dancers in traditional costumes will keep you entertained all weekend, and may even get you to join in on the fun. Hear some great live music throughout the weekend as well.
PARKING AND SHUTTLE SERVICES
Parking is available on the streets surrounding the church. You can also take advantage of the free parking and shuttle service which begins Friday at 5 p.m. from the Grandview employee parking lot on Shaw Avenue, with continuous shuttle service.
WANT TO GO?
What: The 61st annual Dayton Greek Festival
Where: The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park N., Dayton
When: Sept. 6-8; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 6 and 7, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 8
Cost: Free admission from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 6; Admission for the remainder of the weekend is $2 per adult. Free admission for active military, veterans and children 12 and younger. Admission is good for the entire weekend.