A Taste of Greece

A whirlwind of Greek culture returns to the Spartanburg area


Photo by D. Patel

Greek festivals are held annually throughout the state of South Carolina.

Dev Patel, Variety Co-Editor/Chief Financial Officer

The Greek Festival has been a tradition for over 26 years at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Spartanburg. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Festival had to be shut down because of health protocols. Nonetheless, after two years the Festival has returned. What started out as a small event by the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was initially intended to introduce newcomers to Greek culture. For the Festival’s 29th anniversary, the Greek Festival has shown its vast growth as it was expected to have over 8,000 individuals in attendance. The event was held between Sept. 16-18 and included authentic Greek dishes, pastries, music, and dances.  

Johnny Rubio (10) attends the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and looks forward to the Greek Festival each year because of the opportunity to help out.  

“There are always lots of people where I see people from our own church serving them. At the Festival there are multiple tents for customers to visit and buy things. The one thing I know people love is the food. People typically buy food from one of the tents and then go sit down while listening to Greek music and at certain points watch dancers perform Greek dances. At our church it is not very big and really everyone knows everyone and it’s always nice going to church each Sunday with people you know,” Rubio said. 

The Festival has been mostly famous for introducing traditional Greek foods to the Spartanburg area. Gyros, hummus and baklava is commonly associated with Greek cuisine; however, the festival offers a multitude of options for food lovers and vegetarians. Chicken souvlaki, dolmathes, pastichio, spanakopita and tiropita are other popular specialties that they want newcomers to try. Furthermore, the Spartanburg Greek Festival has partnered with Hub City Delivery since 2019 to deliver their authentic food cooked at the festival to those who are unable to attend. The church also sells Greek cookbooks for those interested in learning how to cook the meals themselves.  

Walker Nunes (10) went to the Festival this past September after the reopening since the pandemic. 

I would say my favorite part of the whole thing was the variety of food such as gyros and kotas. Also, I enjoyed watching the Greek dances and seeing my friend Johnny Rubio perform in them,” Nunes said. 

Besides the immersive cultural experience, the Festival also offers activities for children to enjoy themselves and church tours for those who would like to see the church for the first time. The church plans to return to the normal annual Festival schedule, so it will be planned to be held again in 2023. 

Ava Hrysikos (9) goes to the Greek Festival to dance there every year and has been doing it since she was five years old.  

“For newcomers at the Festival I do recommend watching the dances and trying some of the many Greek foods. They have amazing platters and meals each year. They also have many amazing desserts and pastries,” Hrysikos said.