Students explore culture, traditions at Greek Fest

Hosted by the Annunciation Orthodox church, the 52nd annual Greek Fest featured student dancers.

Sophia Kontos

Hosted by the Annunciation Orthodox church, the 52nd annual Greek Fest featured student dancers.

Afraaz Malick, Staff Writer

Crowds bustle through the agora as Greek bouzouki music floats through the air, building the atmosphere for which Greek Fest is famous.

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church hosted its 52nd annual Greek Festival from Oct. 4-7. The event consisted of dance programs, Greek food and an agora, a gift shop.

“Greek Fest has been a staple of my life since I was young,” said junior Charlie McGee, who danced in this year’s festival. “It is a time to reflect on my culture, to take part in a unique experience and to hang out with friends.”

Dancers practice every Sunday after Sunday school for six weeks. Most SJS Greek students participated in the youth dance programs when they were younger. McGee, however, has continued to dance in the festival in the adult program, following in the tradition of his three older siblings: Kelly McGee, Eleni McGee (‘15) and Christina McGee (‘17). In addition, his mom, Kris McGee, teaches the third-grade dance.

“The young adult program needed more people to dance again this year, so I participated,” Charlie said. “Although I was forced into [dancing] when I was younger, it became more of a social event.”

According to junior Helen Lykos, who also dances in the adult programs, the authentic Greek food is a key component of the festival. While kids practice their dance routines on Sundays, adults and other student volunteers prepare delicacies, such as koulourakia (butter cookies), spanakopita (spinach and feta pastry), souvlaki (meat on a skewer) and baklava.

“The food is amazing — my wife and I usually buy a box full of Greek desserts, and we typically enjoy the gyros,” Upper School biology teacher Graham Hegeman said.

Although the Greek Festival is full of dancing, food and shopping, it is viewed as much more by the Greek students.

“Greek Fest is a really significant time for the Greek community to come together and educate the Houston community about our culture, traditions and faith,” Lykos said.