Looking for exciting Greek food, music, and culture? It’s time to stop looking! The 45th Annual Greek Festival is here — and it means business! In 2022, here is what you can expect from this world-renowned event:
- Greek, food
…and more, only in Daytona Beach this week! The annual Greek Festival, held at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Daytona Beach, is back from November 10th -13th, 2022! With 45 years of pure tradition soaked into the event, visitors from all corners of the country are here to “be Greek for a few days!” Let’s take a closer look at what that means.
What To Expect From the 45th Annual St. Demetrios Greek Festival
Located near Main Street, St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church is a beautiful structure overlooking the Halifax river. It’s also the gorgeous, scenic host of the annual Daytona Beach Greek Festival!
This historic church has played host to the Greek Festival for half a century, and it’s rearing up for another great five years to come! People from all over the country are set to flock to the sunshine state and the Greatest City on Earth to enjoy the Greek Festival, this year, at 129 N Halifax Ave, Daytona Beach, FL 32118.
And the best part? Admission is absolutely FREE!
Eating At the Greek Festival
Festival goers will have access to an amazing menu, with an array of different food kiosks posted throughout the venue. From creamy, flaky, buttery spanakopita to savory, robust gyros served with a garlicky tzatziki sauce, guests can feast on delicious food, fresh from the Hellenic world!
With food prepared and organized by the Ladies Philoptochos Society, festival guests will have the opportunity to utilize unique features still relatively new to the St. Demetrios Greek Festival, in the form of an online pre-ordering system. Now, hungry customers can get their food quickly without waiting in long lines at the festival itself.
Following the Covid restrictions of 2020 and onward, festival organizers found that, when restrictions were lifted, many people were concerned about being in public spaces. In response, they developed the idea for customers to be able to participate in one of the foremost Greek traditions: food!
“Now that we have this online pre-ordering going, people can take a little piece of the Greek Festival home with them,” said Sini Vlahopoulos Parrish, designer of the Greek Festival website, where orders are now open.
New At The Greek Festival: Online Pre-Ordering
The Greek Festival’s legendary gyro booth will be located in its traditional spot, serving the kind of flavor you can only expect from the Greek Festival. For those not in the know, a gyro is a succulent vertical rotisserie meat dish served on pita bread with fresh vegetables and the tangy, yogurty flavor of Greek tzatziki.
Billy Gahagan, one of the lead coordinators of the Gyro booth, had this to say: “ Opa! We love all of our guests who come through the gyro line, and we are beyond excited for visitors to experience the quintessential food of Greece!”
The Greek Festival’s new pre-order online feature and convenient drive-through pickup area are located on the South Side of St. Demetrios Greek Othorod Church. Pickup service will only be available on Thursday and Friday, November 10th and 11th, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with ordering available at the link below:
Popular food items such as Gyros, Souvlaki Sandwiches, Lamb and Pita Dip (like a French Dip with lamb instead of beef), Dolmades with Avgolemono Sauce, Small Greek Salads, Baklava, and various Pepsi products and bottled water.
Looking for something cold? Consider some of the exceptional frozen food items from Yiayia’s Kitchen, including Pastitsio, Moussaka, Dolmades, Tiropita, and Spanakopita. To pre-order or view the full drive-through menu, visit www.greekfestivaldaytonabeach.com for more information.
Entertainment At The St. Demetrios Greek Festival?
For not-to-be-missed entertainment, Daytona Beach’s Greek Festival is second-to-none. There are few things more important to the Greek people than good food, their faith, and music. This year’s Greek Festival will continue this proud tradition, hosting live entertainment from some of the most talented musicians in all of Greece, right here in Florida. The sound of live music will fill the air, with guests drifting in to dance and being captivated by the ambient sounds, signs, and aromas of Greek festival life.
And, of course, what is music without dancing? The Greek dance committee, headed by Sini Vlahopoulos-Parrish, Penny Cruz, Denise Brown, and their own professional crew, has been hard at work preparing the youth of the St. Demetrios church to perform throughout the festival. With groups ranging from kindergarten to high school students, the youth contingent will be out in force, performing special dances important to and expressive of the many historical regions of Greece over thousands of years.
The main dance event will take place twice, at 6 PM and 8 PM, with the high school group, Diaskedasi, instructed by Sini Vlahopoulos-Parrish. These dancers are made up of many young artists who have been Greek dancing since they were small children. Their dances boast fiery movements and precise steps and blow the crowd away! Opa!
“Greek dancing is something we all do here, from the moment we are born, it seems,” said Augustine Paspalakis when asked about his time dancing and instructing. “That’s the case for me. I have always felt a strong desire to preserve my heritage, and now I get to attempt to instill that in this group, after having been in the group and dancing all my life. This Diaskedasi is made up of talented and interesting people. I am excited for everyone to see what they have to offer.”
The Fotia Group is made up of the church’s middle school kids, performing at a level below the high schoolers, but with the same passion and flair for entertainment as their older counterparts. They provide an entertaining approach to the preservation of Greek culture through Greek dancing, instructed by Barabara Kosmanopoulos. “I am excited for people to see how much these kids have been working on getting these dances perfect,” said Kosmanopoulos. “Everyone has worked very hard, and I know people will enjoy seeing them perform.”
Finally, Asteria and Neolea are the elementary dance groups of the St. Demetrios youth and are every bit as worth a watch as anything else you’re likely to see. Many of these children will ascend to higher groups over time, spending hours perfecting the basics of dancing. All of these groups are led by talented and passionate instructors, instilling their professional insights and love for the art of dancing in the kids they teach.
Orthodox Tours: Open to the Public!
The Greek Festival is home to more than just great food, music, and Greek culture. It’s also the perfect place to find the Orthodox Christian faith. Guests will be able to peer into the history of the church, with church tours hosted by Stavros Cruz, a member of the Orthodox community, who had this to say when asked about the church tours:
“The church has a long history, and we are excited about every Greek Festival because we get to share that with others. There are a lot of people who don’t know about the Orthodox faith, so I am proud to be a part of the effort to share it.”
The church priest, Father Joseph Samaan, will be present throughout the festival. Most famous, probably, for his great comedic jokes before announcements, Samaan had the following to say: “I am extremely happy with all the work that has been done to achieve this work of organizing the festival with food, the dancers, the gyro booth, and the church tours. It is truly amazing to see how we can come together to make this available for people every year, and I know that will be exemplified in the experience our guests have this year, as with every year before and after.”
Take Home Greek Jewelry, Clothing, and More!
The St. Demetrios Greek festival will not only be a hub for great food and music but Greek fashion and home accessories as well. Kiosks set up near the gyro booth will have many items for purchase, including rings, t-shirts, and Greek-coined sashes, the perfect choice for accessories and souvenirs.
The 2022 Greek Festival will be held from November 10th to November 13th. Admission is completely free and there are access ramps ensuring any and all can come to enjoy the tastes, sounds, and sights of Greece this weekend!
See you there!