2002 Greek Festivals

May and June 2002

See these other pages on the Greek Festivals here:

Each year we get two Greek Festivals in this area. The first one is in Norfolk at the Greek Othodox Cathedral in Granby Street, and a week or two later is the one at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saints Constantine and Helen, at Newport News.

We try to make it to both Festivals each year. It's fun. We like the music, we like the atmosphere, we like wandering through the little agoras they have, but most of all, we like sitting down and having a really good tuck-in to Greek food. Lamb. Moussaka. Pastitsio. Souvlaki. Spanakopita. Baklava. I dream of these things all year round.

Each festival has its good points. The Granby Street festival has great big lamb shanks and Greek beer. The Newport News festival has great music and dancing and a big agora.

We went to the Granby Street festival on a day that was cool and windy and damp. There weren't too many people there which was bad for them, but good for us. Parking was easy and there wasn't a half hour wait for the food. We had a huge lamb shank each, and some moussaka and pastitsio, and finished it all up with baklava. Sat in the cool, drinking Greek beer and listening to the music and watching the kids dancing. It's a good way to spend an afternoon. I forgot to bring my camera to this one, so there's no photos. When we left, we bought more pastitiso and moussaka and a big assortment of baklava to last us for a few more days.

[Granby Street
  Greek Festival]
Two weeks later, it was the Newport News Festival. It's about an hour's drive to there, long but peaceful. The church is a more modern church but very pretty.

The day was hot, and the place was packed. This festival doesn't have the big lamb shanks. They roast lambs on a spit and serve up thin slices of roast lamb. Anne is happy with that, but I went for the Grecian chicken. Half a chicken, packed with spices. And more pastitsio.

Unfortunately they don't have Greek beer, just Millers, which is unfortunate. Jokes about canoes come to mind. The food was really good. They had a Greek band down from Washington, Golden Sounds was the name I think, and they were pretty good. Dancing. Young adults dancing, and it was pretty muscular stuff and great fun to watch.

They had something we hadn't seen before - baklava sundaes. We meant to try one, but forgot.

They have a large agora in the church hall, and we spent a long time looking at things. There was a guy selling table cloths and inlaid Damascan tables and we'd seen him last year and had a chat about a games table. It was a very intricate games table, that folded and unfolded and did chess and backgammon, and the inlays were superb. It was cheaper this year at $1,800. I was tempted, but I'm always easily tempted, and Anne is the strong one who says no. Not that we have any need for it.

We got some taramosalata, but it's a light and frothy version. I'm used to a very thick heavy, dark-red taramosalata and we haven't been able to find it anywhere here. It's stuffed with cholesterol so that's probably why it's not readily available.

I did get a Greek cookbook. I am tempted to start cooking again, but I might save it till we go home.

[Newport News
  Greek Festival]

I did remember my camera when we went to Newport News. We go past the church on the way to the food tent.

[Church of Saints
Constantine and Helen]

[Church of Saints
Constantine and Helen]

[Church of Saints
Constantine and Helen]

Now we're getting close to the tent where the action is.

[Heading towards the
food tent]

And here we are inside the tent, with hundreds of people enjoying themselves with good tucker.

[Sunday afternoon in
the food tent]

This was a missed opportunity. We forgot to come back and try the baklava sundaes.

[Baklava sundaes?]

On the way out, we stopped and had a look inside the church. It had a strong Byzantine flavour, like the churches we saw in Turkey.

[Behind the altar]

The dome had a lovely fresco in it. I was trying to get a decent photo with the digital camera and failed miserably. I cut the head off Jesus.

[A truncated Jesus in
the dome]

[The stained glass

Next year, we'll have to look inside the church at Granby Street. It's older, and I'm curious what the decorations will be like.