29th Annual Ocean City Greek Festival Returns This Weekend

29th Annual Ocean City Greek Festival Returns This Weekend
A volunteer prepares a meal during last year’s Ocean City Greek Festival. Submitted Photo

Rebecca Evans

Staff Writer

OCEAN CITY – Gyros and dolmathes. Loukoumades and baklava. Real Greek coffee.

Iconic Greek cuisine and other celebrations of Greek culture will be on display at the 29th Annual Ocean City Greek Festival.

The weekend festival, which will run July 27-29 at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, is a celebration of all things Greek.

“The whole idea of the festival focuses around ‘Greek,’” said one of the event coordinators, Alexandra Hall.

Food, music and shopping are the highlights of this festival.

“Come for the food, stay for the fun,” is the slogan for the Greek festival, Hall said.

The menu, Hall said, is a representative menu of Greece.

Gyros are a fan favorite but so is the best-selling “fall-off-the-bone tender” lamb shank.

Hall’s personal favorite meal at the Greek Festival is a half-baked chicken with a Greek salad and oven-roasted potatoes.

This, Hall said, is a traditional Greek meal enjoyed on Sundays after church.

While the Greek food tends to be the biggest draw, there is plenty more to do at the festival.

“It’s a nice little respite to come in for lunch,” Hall said.

The indoor, air-conditioned festival can offer a change of pace whether there is rain or shine.

The Boston Lykeion Ellinidon Dance Troupe will make its Ocean City debut at this year’s festival.

The New England-based dance troupe entertains audiences with performances that demonstrate the distinct cultural style of Hellenic music and dance.

The troupe’s summer 2018 repertoire will highlight the musical traditions of Thrace, Asia Minor and the Northeast Aegean islands.

The Boston Lykeion Ellinidon Dance Troupe will have performances at 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Ocean City Greek Festival on July 28.

The Golden Flame Band, a traditional Greek musical group, will return to the festival for performances all weekend long.

The Golden Flame Band will have two sets each day, the first from noon-2 p.m. and the second from 5-11 p.m. On July 29, the performance will end at 8 p.m.

The Greek festival will also have two raffle opportunities.

In the first raffle, 200 tickets will be sold for $100 apiece for the chance to win between $5,000 and $10,000.

For the second, attendees can buy six tickets for $5 for the chance to win $1,000.

The festival vendors offer a “unique marketplace shopping experience,” Hall said. “It’s handmade jewelry you can’t find at Target, or wherever.”

Vendors in the festival marketplace will be selling jewelry, crafts and Greek imports.

The imports available include food, religious items and original or reproduced artwork.

The festival caters to two audiences: full-blooded Greeks and their relatives and non-Greeks who want, “a primer for going to Greece,” Hall said.

The festival is a chance to relive the flavor and sounds of Greece.

The proceeds raised from the festival fund operations and ministries at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church.

Hall is the parish secretary for the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Ocean City that puts on the Greek festival every year.

Due to the Greek festival, the church can fund ministries like the beach week for St. Basil’s Academy, a school in New York that houses children in need.

Such ministries were the work of the late Very Reverend Father Vasilios Penteridis who died October 2017.

This year’s Greek festival will be the first since his death.

The festival opens at noon every day and closes at 11 p.m. July 27-28 and at 9 p.m. on July 29.

“It’s a Greek thing and it’s a not-Greek thing,” Hall said, “It’s fun to see people learn about another culture.”