Greek culture graced Labor Day weekend at the 41st Annual Greek Festival, allowing the Columbus community to eat, dance and even explore the artistry of the Parthenon.
Festival-goers adorned the outdoor compound and hallways of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 555. N. High St. Friday through Monday to bask in Grecian lifestyle.
Helen Rankin, co-chair of the festival, said there are many people in the Columbus area with Grecian heritage and ties, and the church wanted to showcase their community by raising the awareness of Greek culture.
To do so, the church exhibited familiar mainstays to Greek festivals, such as food and music, but also gave attendees the chance to view Grecian artifacts and art.
One exhibit located inside the church displayed photographs of the Parthenon, a famous temple of the Athenian Acropolis in Greece, built in honor of Greek goddess Athena Parthenos. Additionally, great epics, art and architecture of ancient Greece were put on display for the public, which was a first for the festival. The church also offered several cathedral tours to educate visitors about the style of the cathedral and the Orthodox faith.
Along with the displays, cooking demonstrations were held indoors in conjunction with the Aegean Marketplace Deli. At the deli, a new addition to the festival, attendees could buy ingredients to recreate the Grecian delicacies found in the gourmet food lines, where traditional Greek food was served.
“There are a lot of people who are looking for those special ingredients to make Greek food,” Rankin said. “So, we have our food demos where they’ll learn how to make some Greek recipes, and they’ll get to pick out those ingredients in that same place.”
Elizabeth Olguin, a first-year in political science and international studies, said she heard about this festival through her resident adviser from Smith-Steeb Hall, but it was the food that drew her to attending.
“My grandmother would take me to the Greek festivals back home (in Milwaukee, Wis.) when I was little and we would get the chicken dinner and so I just grew up liking the food,” Olguin said.
For Fady Megalli, a graduate student in mechanical engineering who is from an Orthodox Christian family, the festival was a nostalgic experience.
“A lot of this is familiar, but the church tour was amazing and the food was very nice,” Megalli said.
The entrance fee for this event was good for the entire weekend and was $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and free for kids under 12. Proceeds of the event help to support the church and its ministries, and the church also donates their proceeds to other non-profit organizations in Columbus.
Based on previous years, the total attendees said to have bought the entrance tickets were approximately 40,000, according to the church’s website.