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Opa! Baltimore’s Annual Greek Food, Wine, and Cultural Festival

October 31, 2017
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Student Ambassador Ashley Masucci's Review of the Baltimore Annual Greek Food, Wine, and Cultural Festival

One of my favorite events to check out when I am home and not at college, is the local Greek food festival. The food is always delicious and there are tons of new people to meet. When I found out that Baltimore had a Greek Food Festival, I knew I had to check it out.

On October 29th, a rainy Sunday, I decided to head downtown with one of my roommates to finally get some tasty Greek food that I have been longing to eat. Let me start off by saying that when they say it is rain or shine, they mean it. When I arrived, there were huge white tents set up to make sure everyone was dry. The tents were packed with people, all there for the same reasons. Tables were set up on the side so everyone can eat together, the food was on the other side of the tent running down basically the entire thing, and then there was a good portion of the tent that was cleared for dancing space.

If you ever decide to check out a Greek festival, you have to try a true classic: a Gyro. A classic Gyro is usually made up of a mix of beef and lamb meat, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce all wrapped up in a warm pita flatbread. At the Baltimore Greek Festival, they had the classic Gyro meat, but they also had chicken and falafel available which is great for those who do not eat red meat or are vegetarian. For me, I tried the classic Gyro meat and it was delicious. Sitting there at the round tables with people you only just met made me feel like I was at home.

    

Next stop was the dessert table, also known as the best part of any sort of festival. Two of my favorite desserts from the Greek Food Festival at home would have to be baklava and loukoumades, so I knew I had to try them both at this one. Baklava is a delicious pastry which is usually made of different layers of filo dough filled with chopped nuts and then honey to hold everything together. Meanwhile, loukoumades are essentially “Greek donuts,” so pastry dough that is fried and then drizzled with honey and topped with either cinnamon or nuts. My roommate decided to try the baklava and it was delicious. I bought the loukoumades and ended up eating 8 of them on my own because they were so good. The dessert table described in one word would have to be delicious.

As we were enjoying our different pastries, a woman went near the dancing space and took over on the microphone. She announced that a group of young boys and girls would be performing a traditional Greek dance. As they took the floor, they were dressed up in traditional dance wear with the red caps on. When the children danced, you could hear different people yelling “Opa!” which is a way to cheer them on and celebrate. Once the children were finished, the crowd was encouraged to join them in the dance. Unfortunately, I am not Greek and am not the best dancer so if I would have joined in on the fun, it would not have been pretty. If you are not a dancer like me, there was a little “grocery store” where traditional Greek food items were being sold to check out, there even was a silent auction going on as well.

All in all, the Baltimore Greek Food, Wine, and Cultural Festival reminded me of home a little bit. The food was delicious, the people were great, and despite it being a rainy day, being there made the day a little brighter. When the festival rolls around again next year, check it out. I’ll be there, probably filling my stomach with a gyro or some loukoumades.

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