Although having to commit to parking a few blocks away, the smell of roasted lamb and other enticing foods invaded my senses and lead me straight to the festival site. A wide range of people attended; ranging from families and couples, to photographers and individuals craving adventure.
This annual festival is held by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in downtown. This cathedral was established in the late 1800s. To pay for the mortgage of the land, the women of the church held an annual “bazaar” to sell their hand-crafted goods, and it has been a tradition ever since.
A satisfying part of this festival was how the church maintained the endorsement of Greek tradition through traditional dances, foods and currency. The currency used was Greek talents. In Greece they are made of gold and measured by weight, but at the festival, poker ships were used; one talent equaled a dollar.
Other activities included cooking classes, child-oriented pastimes and tours of the church. Traditional Greek folk music played throughout all the commotion of people.
The food was by far the most adventurous and most worthwhile part of the festival. It was either handmade or imported from Greece. Sausages, gyros, pastas, cheeses and breads were all served during lunch. After sampling a good amount of the menu, I concluded that all of it was done exceptionally well, and the desserts were our main curiosity. Most of them were glazed in honey or other sweet powders and sauces. It was hard to have some self control, so ordering one of everything was the way to go.
The overall experience was incredible. After many years of this festival tradition, they still have it down. The Portland Greek Festival is a fun family outing, or a simple thing for someone seeking live entertainment and great food. The atmosphere was comfortable and friendly, despite the large amount of people waiting for food.
If you are interested in attending the festival next year, it will be on the weekend of the 2nd in October.