Greek Food Festival
On September16-18, 2016, Greek Food Festival took place in St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church - 5300 El Camino Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89118. It was the 44th year of celebrating Greek culture, enjoying Greek cuisine, and having fun in Greek manner. Though the event has been sponsored by St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, the admission fee varied from 6 to 10 dollars. Except for the food, which was the main trade of the festival, people could also listen to live bands performing Greek music, have a tour in the church, or visit Greek shops with clothing, jewelry, art, as well as cultural and religious items.
For me, Greek culture appeared to be amazing and vivid. As I was not familiar a lot with it, it was a very pleasant surprise to encounter so positive, smiley, and hospitable people. It seemed they brought with them all the hot sun from Greece and shared it with the environment. Music at the festival had both classic and modern folk motives. It was not very loud in order to give people a possibility to communicate which I really appreciated. I caught myself on a comparing Greek music with some Arabic or Turkish tunes; so I asked if they have something in common. Performers were so kind to explain me that during 400 years Greek and Turkish people lived in the same Ottoman Empire. Since those times, their cultures mutually influenced each other very much. I have remarked for myself how important it is to be able to speak with people who are involved in the event. When I talked to musicians, I felt more enthusiastic and warm towards their culture, and they welcomed me in my curiosity. This is very important in the events promoting ethical cultures or customs.
As food remained the main attraction, I focused on the menu and meals diversity. I have tried gyros, souvlaki, and baklava and found them very delicious. I did not know that, but there was also an option to preorder pastry. Anyone could order platters or single specialties as koulourakia, saragli, kataifi, tsoureki, galaktobouriko, karidopita, and others. Frankly speaking, those names told me nothing, but on the website of the event, there was a possibility to see pictures of pastry (Las Vegas Greek Food Festival, 2016). I would say that Greek culture appreciates sweets a lot judging from their diversity. For those who had troubles with pronunciation and choosing the typical Greek sweets, organizers also offered baklava brownie and baklava cheesecake filled with traditional Greek dough “filo”. As I prefer salty and spicy things more, I may be subjective in my opinions, and I was not able to try a lot of things. However, I saw how people liked the food, how much they bought and ate, and how satisfied they were. Based on this, I can admit that the event was successful.
Organizers created well-structured zones for dancing, communication, eating, and provided various food and entertainment presenting culture that could engage all the public in favorite activities. Being there, I could feel free and talk to anyone as Greek culture tends to be very hospitable, including big families, communication, and dancing as home traditions. In such a way, it promotes open and easy-going people. I expected European cultures to be more reserved and calm, so it was a big surprise for me that Greek culture is even more crazy than American. These people can enjoy life every moment forgetting about problems and sorrows. They enjoy food and share this joy with all others in a way that you are not able to stay indifferent. During the event, I felt as I am part of their culture. I found this skill of making the home atmosphere very appealing.
Greek Food Festival became a very nice advertisement of Greek culture. It gave me a chance to discover different tastes, authentic music, new mentality and, of course, helped to widen the horizons. I realized that visiting ethnic events devoted to the cultures can be a great new experience.
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