St. Nicholas’ Greek Festival

We’ve been to a Greek festival only once several years ago and had a great time. Our Ware Neck VA friend, Helen, invited us to a festival at her childhood church, Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Newport News VA. We just went for an evening meal but were swept off our feet as soon as we entered the big tent. This place was a ‘Happening’! The aromas. The excitement. The crowds. Families. Great food. Music. Dancing. Laughter. While mister gardener sampled his share of Greek delicacies, Helen led me to the crowded dance floor to teach me a few traditional Greek dance steps. Sigh. Someday I may actually make a trip to Greece but for this one night, I was already there.

Greek Orthodox churches across America have similar versions of annual festivals to share their rich heritage, culture, and traditions of the Greek community. When we recently saw one advertised at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Portsmouth NH, we were psyched at the chance to go for lunch. We used our GPS to help us find our way, but we knew we’d found the right church when we spotted the neat Byzantine architecture.
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox ChurchIt was lunchtime but the parking lots were full and the crowds were already thick.
Greek Festival, Portsmouth NHWe stopped in the desert area first where we found delicious sweets and a great marketplace with jewelry, clothes, religious artifacts and food imports from Greece.

On the menu were Greek favorites like Baked Lamb Shanks, Souvlaki , Pastichio, Moussaka, Spanakopita, Gyros, Dolmathakia, Loukouades, salads, vegetables, and more. I’m still understanding what all the foods are but we learned an interesting Greek lesson from our first server. The Greek pronunciation of Gyro is Yih-Ro. I’ll definitely need to know that when I visit Greece… and I hope I can… since I discovered from our family’s DNA genetic testing that I have a ‘spot’ of Greek in my ancestry. Yippee!

St. Nicholas Greek FestivalMister gardener ordered the lamb shanks in tomato sauce and declared it DE-licious! I ordered my standard favorite, moussaka, which was quite tasty. We dined to traditional Greek music but no dancing at lunchtime. We knew we missed the excitement of the evening before when an announcement was made that a lone shoe was found from the night before. Oh boy… it must have been another ‘Happening’!


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