This last weekend was the Albuquerque Grecian Festival. I went the first day around 8:00 pm. It was only about 10 minutes away from campus in the St. George Greek Orthodox Church. The annual festival was full of authentic Greek food and amazing dancers. I had never heard of this celebration before, so I was so excited to check it out.
The whole event was October 4th through the 6th basically all day. There was a $5.00 entrance fee but by the time I left it was totally worth it. The whole even operated on FestBux where one FestBux was one dollar. This was really good for people like me who never keep cash on them. There were little kiosks where you could pay cash or card for FestBux and still enjoy all of the food or shop in the marketplace.
I went into the marketplace (Agora) first. There were all sorts of artwork or food for sale. I saw everything from noodles to coin skirts that could be purchased. After I took a look around to scout out the food and festivities. I finally caved and got 10 FestBux to buy some food. For me, it was relatively cheap. The ladies at the kiosk were telling most couples that $30 would be the best to really enjoy the food and drinks.
I headed to the food tent for a gyro. The last time I had a gyro was at UNM last spring for the international food day, so I was super excited to have one again. There were other foods like Kóta Riganáti (oregano chicken) or Psitó Arní (roast lamb on the spit). The whole food area smelled amazing and if I was less of a broke college student, I would have gotten so much more.
There were other areas such as the Tavern and Coffee House that had drinks and pastries. I headed to the Coffee House at the very end to get $2 baklavá. This was also my first time ever having baklavá and it totally melted in my mouth. It was so good!
After I got the gyro, I headed into the main tent for Horós ke Musikí, or dance and music. When I walked in, many people were on the dance floor enjoying the music and dancing. I even saw the Dean of the School of Engineering dancing about.
Around 8:45 pm, many dancers dressed in colorful costumes flooded the stage. They performed at least ten traditional dances.
There was money thrown up in the air or specifically thrown on a loved one.
Towards the end of the set, dollar bills were stuck on foreheads to see if they’d stick from all the sweat. There was clapping and cheering from the audience. The performance was honestly the best part of the whole night.
The festival had a number of other events throughout the day as well. This included cooking lessons. Here, visitors could learn how to make a number of appetizers or dishes like the oregano chicken. There was also a raffle.
There were several tours of the Greek Orthodox Church. When I first got there, I took a peak and the church was beautiful. There were two men singing Byzantine Music and all around the walls were small boards filled with the history of the religion and church.
The St. George community also donated some of the money from the festival to S.A.F.E House, Storehouse, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of New Mexico as a part of their philanthropy. I had no idea this whole event was happening until my friends invited me on Friday night. But, after attending this year, I will totally be coming next year as well!
I hope you all found something fun to do this weekend!