Festival gives Dartmouth a Taste of Greece
The sights, sounds, and flavors of Greece came out in force in North Dartmouth on Saturday at the first day of the St. George Greek Orthodox Church’s Taste of Greece festival.
The church’s usual festival fundraiser was cancelled this year due to Eastern equine encephalitis concerns.
Instead, church organizers decided to hold a feast to celebrate Greek food, culture, and faith.
Taste of Greece committee member Connie Lee Bebis said that the turnout for the first day of the event was “wonderful.”
“A lot of people were disappointed that we didn’t have the festival, they look forward to it. So this is another way,” she said, adding, “We thank everybody for coming and supporting us.”
On the menu was a full luncheon including food and pastries. Savory dishes included the well-known spanakopita, grape leaves and rice pilaf as well as chicken souvlaki, loukanico or Greek sausage, and pastichiou or Greek lasagna, among others.
As for pastry, there was baklava as well as almond rolls, koulourakia or shortbread cookie, and galatobouriko, or custard pastry made from filo dough and drizzled with a sweet syrup, out of many options.
“These ladies have been baking...And prepping since probably July,” said Bebis. “Everything’s homemade.”
According to the church ladies, the recipes have been handed down from generation to generation — and have been written up in a cookbook available for purchase and stacked next to the containers of baklava.
Bebis was on her way outside to throw dollar bills at the traditional Greek folk dancers, the Greek Pride of Rhode Island Hellenic dance troupe from Pawtucket.
The dancers were performing outside to raucous clapping and shouts of “Opa!” as well as the occasional shower of dollar bills.
In Greece, members of the audience literally throw tip money at the performers to show their appreciation.
Guests were also welcome to tour the church itself and participate in a raffle and lottery drawing.
Wine, ouzo and Greek beer was also available for purchase from a tent outside.
Evelyn Guillette from Grafton was enjoying the show. “The dancing is phenomenal,” she said.
New Bedford resident Mark Fuller agreed. “It’s a great showcase of Greek culture,” he said. “Love the dances, love the food.”
Annette Lucas married her husband Peter at St. George’s church seven years ago. The couple came up from New Jersey for a family visit just in time to attend the feast with their two children, Alisha and Theodore.
Annette said her favorite part of the day was the dancing and dessert.
Her daughter Alisha agreed. “I like the dancing, like this!” she said, demonstrating by throwing her arms wide.
“It’s like Happy Feet, the movie,” laughed Bebis. “When Greeks hear music, our feet just get going!”
The Taste of Greece festival will continue on Sunday, October 20.
All proceeds from the event will go to the church.