Fall in Houston means that a different festival happens every weekend, and none are more beloved than the Original Greek Festival. Set to take place now through Sunday (October 9), the festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year with a special fireworks display on Saturday night (October 8).
By this point, many Houstonians already know what to expect when they attend: Handmade Greek delights of the sweet and savory variety (all of which taste better with a little wine), enthusiastic Greek dancing, and fun shopping. To make CultureMap readers sound a little more knowledgeable in gyro line, here's a few facts you might not know.
Volunteers: Preparations for the the Original Greek Festival begin months in advance when volunteers start preparing food items. During the weekend, over 550 people will work during the festival's 31 hours.
Food: The 40,000 festival attendees consume a lot of food during the four days. Consider the following numbers from last year:
25,600 Greek meatballs (keftedes)
21,000 Souvlaki (which means over 6,500 pounds of beef tenderloin)
19,374 pieces of baklava
8,400 stuffed grape leaves (dolmades)
490 pans of Greek lasagna (pastichio)
Wine: Thanks in part to the popularity of Helen Greek Food & Wine, Houstonians are more interest in Greek vintages than ever before. Last year, the festival introduced attendees to the Holy Archangels Monastery and Winery. Based in Kendalia, Texas, the monastery is home to Greek Orthodox monks who make wine. For those looking for wine made in Greece, Christina Boutari, export director for the celebrated Greek winery Boutari, helped choose the festvial's affordably-priced selections.
Trash: Yes, the festival generates its fair share of garbage, but organizers are committed to being as green as possible. Since 2012, it has recycled 30 tons of cardboard, glass, aluminum, and plastic.
Parking: Don't risk getting towed by parking in the neighborhood, where one side on a number of streets have temporary No Parking signs installed by the city that some revelers don't seem to notice. Instead, take the shuttles from Lamar High School or City of Houston Lot H on Memorial Drive.