As fall emerges, so does the festival season, offering Dallasites opportunities to embrace the arts and try new things. The Greek Food Festival of Dallas, hosted by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, was held Sept. 20-22 to celebrate Greek culture through food, music, dancing, and a marketplace.
The annual festival supports church outreach, ministries and youth programs.
Alexandra Dassopoulos, an eighth-grader who has Greek heritage, has attended multiple Greek Festivals in Dallas and St. Louis. She said dancing is one of her favorite parts of both festivals.
The Dallas festival offers performances by “Festival Dancers,” all members of the Orthodox Church, who partake in casual Greek dances. The performers even including various groups of child parishioners.
“I love watching the crowd clap their hands as we stomp to the beat and dance to the traditional songs- while wearing costumes from different regions in Greece,” Dassopoulos said.
There are also performances by hired “Greek Dancers” who are part of a dance group called the Holy Trinity Hellenic Dancers. Practicing and performing year-round, they strive to preserve traditional Greek dance customs.
In addition to the dancing, the food entices festival-goers, sometimes resulting in long lines. Buyers can delve into the culture of traditional Greek foods, including gyro (yee-roh) and grilled souvlaki (sue-vlah-key). For those who are feeling less adventurous, there are classic Greek salads and various pastries, one favorite being honey-drenched baklava.
To bring these savory tastes into home kitchens, the festival marketplace also offers “The Pantopolion,” or grocery store, which features many of the ingredients that give Greek food its distinctive style and taste.
Dassopoulo encourages other Hockaday students to attend future festivals.
“The Greek Festival in Dallas is a great opportunity for everyone to have fun by watching the Greek dancers, eating ethnic foods, and learning about the religion through touring the church,” she said.
Laura Taten, a sophomore who attended the 2018 Greek Festival, said she enjoyed the cultural celebration.
“I went to the Greek Festival last year, and was really interested to see the hundreds of people who showed up to celebrate the culture,” Taten said. “It was incredible to watch family and friends gather for the chance to honor their heritage, and to share that with the city of Dallas.”
Dassopoulos is strongly connected to her Greek heritage through her father, who came to the United States from Athens in 1984. She said Hockaday could also integrate this spirit of Greek celebration into the year at some point.
“I would love to see Hockaday maybe do a presentation at lunch announcements/recess on a Greek holiday,” Dassopoulos said. “It would be fun to see Hockaday have Greek food if we did a presentation on this or list some Greek words for fun.”
Story by Remy Finn
Photo by Owen Wise