Based in Houston, Texas, GEV is a blog by The GreenEyed Venuist. Her posts explore travel and photography through her green eyes.

Opa! The Original Greek Festival in Houston 2014

Since I'm still reeling from my adventures in Greece, I thought I would attend the 48th Annual Original Greek Festival this past weekend just to re-up, you know? It's been about a month now and I'm sorta coming down off my Greek high.

Brief Background: The Greek Festival was started in 1966 by members of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral as a Greek Night. The 4 day festival is held annual on the first weekend in October and features Greek food, live Greek music and folk dances, as well as a gift shop and tours of the Cathedral (which also has a school attached). Proceeds from the festival are donated to various charitable organizations such as Children's Assessment Center, S.E.A.R.C.H., the Women's House, Covenant House, EAC, and the Star of Hope Mission.

This is not to be confused with the Houston Greekfest that is held annually at St. Basil the Great. Def not the same.

This post wont be very long - basically the whole premise of the Greek Festival is to eat, drink and eat some more. Moreover, you will spend a large portion of time waiting in line to eat, drink and eat some more (though the mile long lines move relatively quickly). So, to wrap it all up, you attend the Greek Festival to stand in line for food and drinks. Oh...there's also performances and music and stuff but let's be honest....I was there for the food and so was everyone else. I'm also pretty sure that since 95% of the people in attendance were walking around carrying whole bottles of wine, most attendees came to get liquored up.

I arrived around 5pm to meet my good friend, Marlena, and her daughter, Maddie. We commenced standing in line for a dinner plate. For $14, you walked through a cafeteria style line and were served 6 different types of Greek food. Not a bad deal. At some point during the night, this line and the rivaling Souvlaki line were so long that it was nearly impossible to locate the end of either.  



About an hour later, my brother arrived. It was time to endure another line. This time, we opted for the shorter line for Loukoumades. If you aren't familiar with Loukoumades, they are pastries made of deep fried dough, soaked in honey and then sprinkled with cinnamon. They remind me of a doughier version of beignets. 

 

 

Fortunately, while we waited we were able to see the production of these delightful little balls of deliciousness. Here, they have mixed the dough and are pouring it into the machine that dispenses the dough in little balls out the other end. 



I tried to get a better picture of the dough dropping coming out of the other end, but the grease popped me on my upper lip and I was traumatized after that. And no....my camera isn't blurry....that's the grease from the fryer on the window distorting the view.....yum. 


Finished product: 


The loukoumades were probably the highlight of my night...they were so good. 


My brother had the insight to suggest we purchase a bottle of wine so we stood in line for that. 


Gratuitous wine  line selfie:
  

For $25 we purchased the bottle pictured below. We were told it was one of the better tasting whites they were selling that evening. I didn't get to try the others but this was a pretty solid wine. I'm sure any sommeliers reading this are cringing at my use of the word solid and not some other technical term to describe the wine...lol.



We finally decided to tackle the line for souvlaki. Souvlaki is the Greek word for kebab. You could actually smell the mouth watering aroma of grilled meat within a 5 mile radius of the festival. My brother, being the carnivore that he is, wanted nothing more than two piping hot souvlakis from the grill. We stood in line for about 45 mins before we heard one of the workers announce that they only had about 50 left. We quickly counted the patrons ahead of us and said a silent prayer that they would each only order one, as we were numbers 39 and 40 in line. Unfortunately, by the time we reached the front of the line, we saw the last two souvlakis leave the grill and we were out of luck. The entire line booed the man.....we joined in. Needless to say, Broseph was highly disappointed. But, in an effort to avoid a Greek festival uprising...b/c by then the line had grown exponentially...the workers had the foresight to start throwing sausages on a stick on to the grill to appease the other hostile and hungry people waiting in line. We settled. It was really good sausage tho....  


Before we departed the festival grounds, we caught a live performance of a Greek band. The crowd formed a circle on the dance floor, placed their hands on shoulders of person nearest them, and commenced to circle dancing...you can see some of it in the video below. OPA!


That was my weekend....among some other things. How was yours??



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