58th annual Greek festival delicious, delightful

After two decades spent in the U.S. Navy, I’ve been to a lot of countries and met a lot of people. I have never met a people as proud of their nationality as the Greeks.  The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church at 120th Street and Wornall Road in Kansas City, Mo., held their 58th Annual Greek Festival on Friday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Sept. 8.

The pride Greeks have about being Greek is off the charts, so it stands to reason any excuse they have to celebrate their mothered land will also be off the charts. Droves of people from all over the Kansas City Metro poured onto the grounds of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church to experience their annual fix of Grecian hospitality.

“It was a fun atmosphere with live music and traditional dance,” said Shari Duffy, an Overland Park, Kan. resident. “The food was amazing and authentic, there were so many delicious options.”

My daughter and I decided to check out the festival on Saturday evening, and all of the Kansas City Metro had the same idea. With the masses of people in attendance, parking was seamless; the lines for food were very fast and efficient and the tours of the church ran smoothly.

I cheated a little bit, as I perused the menu for the festival the week prior to be prepared. The food selection was pretty amazing. They had everything from hummus and pita to Greek salad and dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) to hot dogs for the less adventurous kids in attendance. My daughter and I decided to try a bit of everything, and it was worth it. In front of the stage, under the tents we had a smorgasbord of our Greek favorites.

Our feast included grilled lamb T-bones, an appetizer plate which included hummus, olives, feta cheese and pita, a Greek salad, spanakopita, phyllo-dough triangles stuffed with spinach and feta cheese, Greek-style rice and potatoes, and grilled chicken kabobs. The only bummer of the evening was they were out of pastitsio, a Greek-style lasagna. If that was my only complaint, I considered it a successful evening.

While we grazed on the food, we chatted with friends and watched dancers of all ages and cultures strut their stuff for the crowds. During the few hours we were there, we saw high-school aged dancers and then an adult Greek dance troupe. By the end of the night the festival revelers were on stage enjoying dances. It was clear these dancers have been doing this for most of their lives.

In short, the Greek festival was a fine end to a fine evening, and it left me looking forward to the next one, on the weekend after Labor Day in September 2020.