Sept. 19, 2019, marks the 59th Tulsa Greek Festival held annually at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. What started as a simple dinner fundraiser at a local hotel has blossomed into a community event people of all ages have come to enjoy. It is the oldest ethnic festival in Tulsa.
Thursday kicks off the festivities with “Lunch by the Greeks,” which are traditional Greek meals available for order to local businesses. If you can’t get enough Souvlaki (delicious grilled meat on a skewer), cater it in Friday as well. There’s no such thing as too much Greek!
Beginning Friday, a wide range of activities open the celebration under a festive tent, next to the church. Traditional dancing, games, contests and shopping for everything from souvenirs to fine jewelry. Also, the food, for the love of Aphrodite, the food! If you believe in the old adage that you should always start with dessert, this is the perfect opportunity. Traditional baklava is served as well as loukoumades, which are the best honey-glazed doughnut-like puffs you’ll ever consume. If your children are searching for the ice cream truck, no worries, they can try the baklava Sundaes. However, if you’re old school and need to have dinner first, you won’t be disappointed. You can choose from authentic Greek entrees or various appetizer plates including shish kabob, saganaki, calamari, lamb, gyros, cheese pies, feta cheese and Kalamata olives, Greek salad and spinach pies. Of course, no meal is complete without Greek beer and wine, finished with a Greek coffee.
The Greek Festival features shopping for everything from souvenirs to fine jewelry.
New this year is saganaki, it’s basically cheese on fire. Also popular is the Greek french fry eating contest, Lord of the Fries. There is literally something for everyone.
Tonya Boone, who is the vice-chair for this year’s festival explains, “What started as a simple fundraising effort, has grown into a community-wide event where you can experience Greek food, fun, culture and religion!”
For only five dollars, children can visit the Kids Zone to play on an inflatable playground, try their hands at arts and crafts and even take a tour of the fire station nearby. Once the dancing begins, you will see Greek culture unfold before your eyes. Each dance pays homage to different regions, complete with colorful and dynamic costumes and spectacular music. Even though Greece is 5,900 miles away from Tulsa, you won’t help but think you’re at a big fat Greek wedding on an island!
There is also an opportunity to tour the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. The church, which was founded by Greek immigrants at the turn of the 20th century, was Tulsa’s first building in the Byzantine style. The rounded corners of the church, along with the dome, is the traditional architecture of the Greek Orthodox. Once inside, clergy discusses the history of the religion as well as the building and answer any questions you may have. On your way out, light a candle in memory of a loved one.
“What started as a simple fundraising effort, has grown into a community wide event where you can experience Greek food, fun, culture and religion!”
The festival concludes Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. After 6 p.m. Thurs., Fri and all day on weekends, tickets for adults are $5 and kids are always free. Tickets can be purchased at the door. For more information, visit their Facebook page or go to their website, www.tulsagreekfestival.com.
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