Special Events, Syracuse Favorites

Syracuse’s Big Fat Greek Festival

Every year I hear about the Greek Festival in Dewitt, but for some reason I had never gone. This year I finally changed that! After several recommendations from friends and co-workers, I gave it a try – and it was great! It’s the best when you can experience another culture right in the comfort of your hometown.

St. Sophia’s Greek Cultural Festival is located in Dewitt, not far from the Syracuse University campus. It’s held one weekend every June, Thursday through Sunday. When I say that the event is crowded, that is an understatement. The place is packed! But even with so many people there, there is such a sense of family and togetherness that really makes this festival something special. Hint for beating the crowds? Don’t even try to park at the church. Several of the nearby schools offer space in their parking lots and there are shuttles to bring people to the festival. Easy. Or, park at the closest school (Tecumseh Elementary) and enjoy the ten minute walk to the church.

Everyone raves about the food at the Greek Fest – and rightfully so! The lines to order food are LONG, but the wait is worth it. We got some dolmades (my favorite!) and a lamb gyro. The meat was perfection, there are no other words. You can also choose from souvlaki with rice, shishkabobs, or an assortment of American food (but really, why  bother with that?). Greek beer and wine are also for sale. This year, Empire Brewing Company brewed a special beer just for the festival called the Evzone. It was a nice, refreshing summer beer! Inside the church are all the desserts, as well as some booths with trinkets for sale. Whatever you do, make sure you get the loukoumades (honey puffs) with cinnamon. They are like heaven in your mouth. Another favorite is the baklava sundae. Whatever dessert you choose, you really can’t go wrong.

One of the other highlights of the festival is the traditional Greek dancing. The festival’s website lists the schedule of dancing so you can be sure to time your visit around it. There are both youth and adult groups and it’s such a joy to watch them. In between performances you can also listen to traditional Greek music.

So take an afternoon or evening each summer to visit the Greek Fest; it really is a special experience. And I forgot to mention, the festival is FREE! But be sure to bring some cash with you for food and drinks – that’s the best part!


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