The Columbia Greek Festival celebrated its 30th year of Greek food, art and culture while raising money for church and charity this weekend. Over the years, the four-day festival held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral has donated over $400,000 to charity. From live music and traditional dances to church tours and cultural exhibits, Greek culture was thriving throughout the festival.
With a variety of food tents set up, the Greek Festival offered its attendees a taste of cultural cuisine.
Columbia resident Keegan Hill tried a Greek favorite, the gyro.
“I had a gyro — that’s kind of my go-to. It was very good. It was very fresh and tasty," Hill said.
The Greek Festival gyros are made of a lamb and beef mixture on a warm pita with tomatoes, onions and tzatziki sauce.
Some of the food offered included Greek-style chicken breast; Keftedes, Greek style meatballs in an egg and lemon sauce; Pastichio, a Greek lasagna; and roasted lamb kabobs. Other tents were set up serving Greek pizza, sausages and other specialties.
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No meal is complete without dessert, and the chefs at the Greek Festival made sure no one would leave without at least glancing at something sweet. There were over 20 dessert and pastry options such as baklava, cheesecake, cannolis and diples — a donut-like batter fried and dipped in honey syrup and sprinkled with chopped walnuts.
“The baklava ice cream was the best thing I tried," third-year exercise science student Debbie Williams said. "It was vanilla ice cream with baklava on top of it and a cherry."
The Greek festival was unique in not only showcasing Greek cuisine but also presenting exhibits that shared facts on Greek history.The main cultural exhibit played video presentations hourly, along with discussions about Greek history, culture and modern Greece.
Traditional music was played under one of the tents along with Greek folk dancers dressed in authentic, handmade costumes.
Williams was one of the guests who ate her meal while enjoying the traditional music.
“It was really neat," she said. "As you sat there and ate, you had that going on, so it was a neat experience.”
With about 32 shops showcased at the festival, there were a large variety of souvenirs for guests. Jewelry, art and ceramics were but a few of the items for sale.
If you missed out on the Greek Festival this year, don’t worry. The festival has been around for 30 years and will continue to come back.