(New Orleans, Louisiana, United States) – The New Orleans Greek Festival, which is entering into its 43rd year, will be taking place this weekend from Friday, May 27 to Sunday, May 29. The festival, which is part of the oldest Greek community in the United States, is a way for the people to share a part of their culture with the rest of the community. There is an entrance fee of $7 but children under 12 are free. All the proceeds from the festival will benefit the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and help the parish meet its daily expenses. Guests can enjoy eating delicious Greek food, listen to Greek music, dance traditional folk dances, and shop for Greek products, such as Greek inspired jewelry and food products.
The start of the festival, however, is its cuisine. Each year, the festival committee selects a dish that will stand out above the rest. This year, they’ve chosen to focus on the dolmades. Traditionally, dolmades are made with grape leaves that have been stuffed with various ingredients. Although most recipes for dolmades contain rice paired with other ingredients, such as chick peas, nuts, and various types of meat, such as lamb, their is some room for creative play. This year, the festival chefs add ingredients like crawfish meat to their dolmades to pay homage to the cajun population in the area. Other menu items include pastitsio, tiropita, spanakopita, fried calamari, burgers made of goat meat, and desserts such as baklava and loukoumades. Festival goers could also drink Greek beer, wine, and even Ouzo!
Greeks have been settling in Louisiana since the 1700’s, long before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. At the time of this purchase, the people who settled were mostly of French origin, but there was enough of a Greek community to build an Orthodox Church. The Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral is now celebrating its 150th anniversary. Although the community didn’t begin having a festival until a little over forty years ago, it is now an important part of the Greek community. People from all over Louisiana flock to this festival to experience a taste of what it’s like to be Greek.