Although Mother Nature put this year’s three-day extravaganza that is called the Charleston Fall Greek Festival on hold for two additional weeks, she seemed to make up for it with uncharacteristically brisk weather at the make-up date the weekend of Oct. 16-18– weather that made you remember that it’s fall everywhere else in the country as you sipped on your sugary-sweet Greek coffee.
This was the third annual Greek Fall Festival sponsored by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, which serves to share Greek culture with the Charleston community through food, live music, and various vendors twice a year. Charleston is home to approximately 300-400 Greek families, and the church is central to this chunk of the city’s population.
Walking into the festival, you could hear traditional Greek music that might bring you back to the 2002 classic “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” emanating from the stage, where the children of the church (perhaps somewhat begrudgingly) performed various Greek dances in between bites of baklava.
Food choices included mouth-watering items such as gyros, baklava sundaes, Loukoumades (a Greek style doughnut doused in honey and powdered sugar), and ye old faithful hamburgers and fries. In between bites, the multiple Greek wine and beer tastings stood at the ready – along with several plasma TV’s showing the football game that apparently conflicted with the festival. Luckily, though, sports fans screams were drowned out by the music that you may have been dancing to by now with red wine (whose name seemed almost impossible to pronounce) in hand along with members of the Greek Orthodox Church and the Charleston community.
Several vendors sold various decadent Greek desserts, traditional Greek soups, and huge jugs of olive oil sure to last at least till the next festival (depending on how Greek you are, of course). In addition to the Greek stands were tents under which you could get that henna tattoo you’ve been wanting since you said “no” to a tramp stamp dolphin on the Ocean City boardwalk, wrap around dresses, and a few (somewhat random but nevertheless intriguing) beauty products and jewelry.
Arguably, though, the best part of the festival was being able to stroll through the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church itself. The larger than life ceiling mural and the beautifully built and brilliantly decorated pulpit immediately forced you to stop in your tracks in order to stare in wonder. Certainly, the exterior brick-walled church holds much worth exploring inside its walls.