The 2016 Denver Greek Festival

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The Denver Greek Festival has been going on for 51 years, since 1965. It is a cultural festival that includes Greek food, small gifts, and entertainment, such as traditional Greek dancing and music.

The cost of admission was $5 for an adult but free for kids under 12. You also had to do a coin exchange at a ‘bank’ if you wanted to buy any food or drinks. For $1 you could get one silver coin. They also had $5 copper coins. The coins do not work outside of the Festival grounds.

The Greek Festival was held at the Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral (with the large gold dome) and lasted for three days (June 17-19).

The Greek food was delicious! All of the signs for the food were in English and in Greek. They also had pictures of the food, and the price was listed in coins. I tried pastitsio (oven baked layers of pasta and ground beef, spices, and a creamy sauce on top), keftedes (beef meatballs with pasta sauce and herbs), tyropites (buttery sheets of filo pastry dough filled with greek cheeses), gyros (shaved meat in a pita with cucumber sauce), and some fried dough balls. My favorite was the dough ball because it was sweet like a dessert.

Throughout the event, people often shouted OPA! I think this means cheers because they always were happy and celebrating when they said it.

I also walked around and looked at the many small merchandise stores. One even sold Turkish delight. There were good luck camels, silver jewelry, and soaps made of olive oil.

There were also carnival games (like the hammer game where you smash it) and a bouncy house slide for younger kids.

They had a raffle for two free round-trip tickets to Greece. I have no idea who won them as I was not there during the drawing. Some other activities for the weekend included cooking lessons, a tour of the cathedral, Greek language lessons, choir concerts, dancing demonstrations by both youth and adult dance groups, and more.

We listened to some music and watched people dance. They were dressed like their Greek ancestors. The songs are lively songs that make you want to get up and dance. They were up on stage performing, so it wasn’t like you could just jump up and join in.

Overall, I enjoyed this festival a lot and would encourage you to go next year. OPA!!!