The annual Greek Festival kicks off in exactly two weeks. As the food is so well done and wine is so readily available, in my opinion, this is the best of the annual ethnic festivals. In its 47th year, it begins on Thursday, October 3, and runs through Sunday, October 6.
Held on the grounds of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Montrose, across West Alabama from the University of Saint Thomas, a key attraction is the food. And, nearly all of it is made by the parishioners with the exception of the gyros (these are from local favorite Niko Niko's). This home-cooking aspect makes it different than most local festivals, and even the big Greek festivals in the Chicago area. An example is that souvlaki, chunks of grilled beef tenderloin, are marinated by church members for a week beforehand. These are usually a must order during the weekend. The pastries are also quite good, and are easily purchased to take home.
Items like the gryos and souvlaki are sold a la carte. A good deal is the dinner plate for $12. With it you get a hearty sampling of Greek specialties: pastitsio (baked macaroni with beef filling and béchamel sauce); tiropita (puff pastry filled with cheese); spanakopita (spinach and feta cheese pastry); fasolakia (Greek-style green beans); and a Greek salad.
A near necessary accompaniment to the food is wine, available by the glass and also in the more festive bottle size. Greek wines had a poor reputation in the past, deservedly so, but they have improved quite a bit in the past decade. It’s true. I've found that the wines sold at the Greek Festival in recent years to have been quite palatable, and easily drinkable, especially when the weather has remained warm and muggy. There is beer, too.
Though enjoying the food and drink are the main activities for many, there are also dance programs and other exhibitions of Greek culture, though doubtfully any protests against Angela Merkel or the German Central Bank.
The Original Greek Festival
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral complex
3511 Yoakum (just north of West Alabama), 77006
Thursday dinner - 5 to 10PM; $6 admission
Friday lunch - 11AM to 3PM; free admission
Friday dinner - 5 to 10PM; $6 admission
Saturday - continuous food service - 11AM to 10PM; $6 admission
Sunday - continuous food service - noon to 6PM (it will run out before then); $6 admission
Also, pre-sale tickets are available on-line for $20, which will get you admission and dinner plate with your choice of souvlaki, Greek salad, or Pastry Box (no gyros, though).