With this dreary, unseasonable weather we’ve been having, I didn’t think many people would come out for the 40th annual Holy Trinity Greek Festival in Wilmington Wednesday evening.
Boy, was I wrong!
Sure, people were in sweaters and jackets, but that didn’t deter hundreds (probably thousands?) from celebrating in Mediterranean style.
And that’s the best part of the whole thing for George Fournaris, who grew up in the neighborhood and has been volunteering at the festival since he was in high school 38 years ago. (You can find him at the souvlaki station this year.)
“I like to watch the people,” he said at the festival Wednesday night. “I love the big crowds, and I like that this is really good for Wilmington as it’s right in the middle of the city.”
The one thing I missed was a tour of the golden-domed church (next time!), but here were my big takeaways from this big, fat, fun Greek festival:
The live music was great.
All evening, the Atlantis of Philadelphia band played Greek music, as they have been for the past 30 years at this festival. When kids in traditional garb weren’t performing Greek dances, lots of small children – and adults too! – were moved to dance to the music.
They didn’t serve your average festival food.
Seriously. The line for gyros was out of control, so we went with souvlaki and weren’t disappointed. The tomato/onion topping was delish as was the tzatziki sauce. Even though we weren’t able to remove the chicken from the charred wooden skewer (resulting in somewhat-awkwardly eating the pita like a corndog), the souvlaki was a highly-satisfactory experience.
The spanakopita, or spinach pie, was also yummy, and so was the fried calamari.
We peeked our heads into the Hellenic Community Center where the enticing smells of mousaka and pastitso and keftedes wafted, and they had to be scrumptious because the line for all that Greek goodness was mighty long!
Let’s not forget dessert. The baklava was off the chain – lots of layers of phyllo and sweet walnut filling – and they had a range of delectable pastries from kourabiedes to koulourakia.
Drinks were a thumbs-up too.
The festival offered an assortment of beers and wines – the Greek beer was tasty – and I tried a sip of ouzo, the anise-flavored Greek liqueur—holy burning esophagus Batman, that stuff will grow you some chest hair!
Like George said, perhaps the coolest part of the whole thing was witnessing the Wilmington community delight in taking part in a four-decade-old neighborhood tradition. The turnout was surprising and impressive. Several milled around the area where vendors sold various jewelry, icons and other wares, and the many open-air tables were brimming with folks socializing over food and drinks. It was a true slice of Wilmington—people of all colors and ages coming together to enjoy a night of community and Greek culture. Opa!
Want to go?
The Holy Trinity Greek Festival runs through Saturday, and out of respect for Beau Biden, it will open Saturday after his funeral service ends. Otherwise, hours are from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and admission is free. The festival is at the church’s location, 808 N. Broom St. Parking is on-street only.