The Columbus Greek Festival has become a Labor Day tradition for many people in Central Ohio. This year, 2017, was the 44th annual Greek Festival, in downtown Columbus at The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. People and their families come from near and far to experience the celebration. Starting on Friday, the festival opens and the crowds start to flood in, continuing until Monday evening.
This family festival has something for everyone, from food to dancing. Traditional dishes include pastitio, dolmades and keftedes, all priced individually. Popular Greek dishes such as μουσακάς (mou-sa-ka) often sell out before the festival ends! Gyros and souvlaki are also sold outside, along with many more authentic choices. Pastries and sweets such as baklava and loukoumades (Greek donuts), tend to be a family favorite, and all ages can enjoy a good baklava sundae.
After the eating comes the dancing. There are four group of dancers ranging from preschoolers to college students. The dancers perform a number of traditional dances from a variety of islands in Greece. Most groups dance about three to four times a day, performing multiple dances in each set. At the end of the night it is the audience's turn to dance. Everyone is invited to join in and dance in a big circle, making new friends and fun memories.
Other forms of entertainment at the festival include free crafts, tours of the cathedral, and cooking demonstrations to learn how to make traditional Greek recipes. Gifts such as clothing, jewelry and artwork can be purchased throughout the festival. Greek music is played all day, making the experience come to a full circle. The welcoming atmosphere of the festival makes the visitors feel like part of a "Big Fat Greek Family."
Tickets can be purchased at the gates, adult admission is five dollars, senior citizens cost four dollar and children under the age of twelve get in for free. Admission is valid the whole weekend, so people can come and go as they please. Next year will be the 45th anniversary of the Greek Festival with lots of fun in store, come and find out what it is all about!