Rhode Island Greek Festival 2021

by Victor Martelle
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OPAAAA!!

I visited the Rhode Island Greek Festival on August 21st, 2021. You can find out more about them on greekfestivalri.com. You can also find my Instagram posts about my visit here and here.

Greek dancing, history, the Church, and food… everything about this festival was so beautiful. There were lots of people in attendance and so, much, food! Before the dance, they gave us a brief history of the festival and the Greek and Ottoman relationship.

The dancing was simple yet elegant. They came in all together in traditional garb, holding hands and dancing in a circle. Following that, more intense solo and duo dances came from some members. At the end, everyone was invited to join them in the dance circle. Interestingly, I saw people throwing money at the dancers and was told this was a Greek tradition. This money would be used for the troupe and the Greek Festival organization.

We then visited the church. I’ve always found churches to be beautiful. The history, culture, and the architecture that goes into these buildings is ridiculously impressive. It’s interesting to see how and why these churches decide to display who they see as important in their religion and learning the reasoning behind their ceremonies as well. The conversation I had with one of the members on how he joined was interesting and I wish I could have spoken to him more!

We also saw a decrepit neighboring house where we were approached by a man who told us a little bit of history of it. It’s called the Read-Ott house and was built 1842! I was told that the innards are in good condition and they hope to repurpose it to assist with church things.

The Food

Did you know the frappe was invented in Greece?

Much of the food I had gotten to try at the festival was new, although there were some I’ve had before like gyros and kourambiethes. All in all, the food was absolutely amazing and such an interesting experience, there were some combinations I’ve never heard of, like moussaka!

Frappe – Pretty good, not too sweet. Although, I’d prefer a latte!

Loukoumades – Greek fried dough balls covered in honey. Even for me, these were soooo sweet!

Moussaka – “Greek lasagna.” Has a custard top with eggplant and beef center. Interesting, and tasty!

Dolmas – Beef rolled in Greek leaves. These tasted like lemon with a slight taste of fish, very unique.

Galaktoboureko – Custard square. Not too bad and not sweet like most custard pastries I’ve had.

Kourambiethes – Greek “wedding/Christmas butter” qurabiya cookies. Cute moon shape, nice almond taste, slightly crumbly, were my favorite! I’ve had Turkish shortbread/qurabiya cookies, kavala, which were very similar and equally great.

Almond roll – “Baklava roll” sums it up.

Koulourakia – Greek Easter cookies. Slightly sweet and really tasty! Like a wine biscuit but actually good.


Dancers in a line at the side of the building ready to perform.
Dancers forming a circle dancing. Large white tents full of people in background.
Greek pastry menu on paper taped to a window.
Pictures of dishes with their prices taped onto white fence.
Picture of galactoboureko, labeled $4 each, taped to a glass display of them.
Mini round loukoumades in a plastic takeout container.
Holding a frappe in a plastic cup with straw, no lid.
Holding the inside of a little dolma.
Various traditional Greek desserts in a styrofoam takeout container.
Various traditional Greek desserts in a styrofoam takeout container.
The side front of the Greek Orthodox Church of The Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
Inside of the church, shows large stained glass blue windows with pictures of saints.
Inside picture of church, shows altar and background.
Inside of church floor, shows logo of two attached birds holding a sword and a club-like item.
Paper advertising koudambiethes taped to a glass display case, reads $3 each.
Advertisement papers of kataifi and almond rolls taped to a glass display case.

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