Greek Festival showcases traditional dances, food


Lexi Guo

A man cooks authentic Greek food at the Greek festival.

Richard Liang, Staff Writer

A roar of “opa” from the auditorium and an aroma of fresh Greek cuisine immediately caught junior Arianna Doss’ attention as she walked onto the grounds for Greek Festival. 

“The vibrant culture of the festival, as well as the happiness of everyone there, immediately hit me,” Doss said. “And of course the smell of the food.”

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church hosted the 54th Houston Greek Festival from Oct. 14 to Oct. 17. Last year’s festival was canceled due to COVID-19. This year’s Greek Fest offered Houstonians the opportunity to try Greek foods and watch traditional dances.

“I’ve gone to Greek Fest every year since I was four,” Doss said. “It’s a great social event to celebrate Greek culture.”

According to Doss, one of the best parts about the festival is the authentic Greek food. Typically made by people of Greek descent, dishes included baklava (a layered filo dessert), tiropita (a cheese-filled pastry) and dolmathes (a grape leaf stuffed with meat and rice). 

“The food was so good that most people had to wait in lines for almost an hour,” Doss said. 

Dancing is another signature aspect of Greek Fest. Some dancers flew from Greece to perform traditional dances such as the Zeibekiko (eagle dance) and Zorba (freedom of the soul). Crowds gathered to watch the performances and to chant “opa” (“hurray” in Greek). 

“The dances are one of the most Greek-authentic events of the festival,” Doss said. “They’re really exciting and just a huge part of Greek Fest.” 

Visitors shopped for original Greek art, jewelry and artisans in the gift shop. Many also tried imported Greek wine and toured the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.

Dancers perform traditional dances such as the Zeibekiko (eagle dance) and Zorba (freedom of the soul). (Lexi Guo)

Upon the festival’s return, yearly attendees noticed that Greek Fest’s carnival-like games such as inflatables and mini-rides were missing from the green space behind the church. This year, these activities were removed largely due to social-distancing guidelines.

“They’re one of my favorite parts of Greek Fest, even though I’m probably getting a little too old for some of that stuff now,” junior and AOS alumna Nora Doughty said.

Greek Fest has been an indispensable part of many AOS alumni’s lives. Doss and Doughty return almost every year because the event allows them to socialize with old friends while reimmersing themselves in Greek culture. 

“I’ve been to Greek Fest for so many years, and I’ve made so many memories,” Doss said. “It has been such an important part of my life.”