Mobile is a cosmopolitan city, a melting pot of its many cultures. Part of that is because Mobile is a port city with daily commerce from all over the world. Partly, it is because of Mobile's heritage, with French, Spanish, Native American, African-American, British, Lebanese and Greek forefathers.
The active Greek community of South Alabama shows off this week. The annual Greek Festival is at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church from Thursday, October 19 through Sunday, October 22. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is free. The church and festival are at 50 S. Ann Street, Mobile.
The festival is cashless this year, with purchases by debit and credit cards.
A little piece of Greece in Alabama: Greek food, Greek music, Greek dance, Greek markets.
Traveling to Greece is costly and time-consuming, but sampling that Greek experience here in Mobile is free and convenient.
Alabama leaders of the Greek community have been holding this growing festival since the first Greek Night in 1962. One dedicated cook in the Greek kitchen for the past 28 years has left for Hellenic heaven and will be missed: Donald Maiben, Jr.
The Greek food can be eaten on the premises or taken home. Many recipes are from the current Greek descendants' "yia yias," – their grandmothers.
There is a full-meal Greek food line inside. It includes:
Dolmathes dinner – seasoned beef and rice mix wrapper in a grape leaf.
Pastichio dinner – seasoned beef and layers of tubular macaroni.
Spanakopita – pieces of spinach and feta cheese.
The outdoor section provides:
The indoor section has a Greek bakery with the popular Baklava, Kourabiedes, Melomakarona, Almond cookie, Koulourakla, braided bread and assorted pastry plates.
A complete menu is accessible at Menu – Greek Fest Mobile
There is a Greek market, a plaka, with olive oils, cheeses, spices and assorted Greek items.
Greek music will be played by Bazouki Express.
Greek dance teams in full costume perform starting at 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tours of the classic church building and explanations of the icons and traditions are conducted at the festival.
The South Alabama community is rife with Greek last names. Daily, you can run across Galanos, Coumanis, Roussos, Bakas, Costas, Demotropolis, Harris, Ladas, Maris, Markos, Papas, Papageorges and dozens of other Greek descendants.
Author's note: I will be at the Greek Festival on Friday. I will be in a blue and white Greek shirt modeled after the Greek flag. Opa! __Jim Zeigler
Details at: Greek Fest Mobile – OPA!
The author, Jim Zeigler, is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comment at [email protected].
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