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Greek Fest: One Of Nassau’s Most Anticipated Cultural Events

a group of people standing in front of a crowd

Kicking off Nassau’s annual festival calendar is the event that we’ve been waiting for with considerable anticipation for two years! That’s right, it’s Greek Fest time again and we advise you to bring along a healthy appetite for art, culture, dance, and (most importantly of all) traditional Greek food and drink.

Greek-Bahamian History

a group of people standing in front of a building
Credit: Greek Festival

Those of you who have been guests on our Bites Of Nassau Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour might recall how important a role Greeks play in Bahamian history. Our tasting stop at Athena Cafe, a downtown Nassau hallmark, is a delicious opportunity for us to share how much Greek culture has and continues to contribute to Nassau’s diverse cosmopolitan landscape. Originally drawn to The Bahamas for the lucrative sponging trade, which dates back to the 1860s, Greeks have been an important part of Bahamian society ever since. This small but vibrant community consists of roughly 600 tightly-knit members who are typically family and tradition-oriented and often entrepreneurs and restaurant owners. Downtown Nassau’s historic Greek Orthodox Church represents the focal point of this community and the grounds of the church are where the bi-annual Greek Festival takes place.

Must Eat Festival Food

a group of people standing around a table
Credit: Greek Festival

Arriving early at the festival is a must in order to lay down a hearty food foundation (and secure your take-home meal… locally referred to as “toting”) in preparation for a full day of nibbling, sipping, socializing, and dancing. Traditional Greek eats first on our hit-list include:

Lamb Gyro- Shaved lamb is the star of this classically prepared warm pita sandwich, complemented by diced fresh tomatoes, grated lettuce, julienned onions, and everyone’s favourite garlicky, cucumber yogurt tzatziki sauce. Not a red meat fan- there are excellent chicken gyros available as well.

Grilled Octopus- This signature Greek Festival delicacy is masterfully charred on open flames and finished with a twist of lemon, and olive oil, and a handful of fresh parsley. Incredibly flavourful, chewy and some of the tastiest seafood on the island.

Greek Salad- Comprised of coarsely chopped lettuce, fresh cucumbers, red onions, briny Kalamata olives, and generous cubes of fresh feta cheese; drizzled in olive oil and vinegar and finished with a pinch of dried seasonings. A perfect way to get your veggies in this weekend!

Dolmades- Yiayia’s hand rolled marinated grape leaves filled with seasoned rice, flavourful ground beef, and finely chopped pine nuts. These hand-held little bites reconstitute in extra virgin olive oil for an earthy depth of flavour.

Baklava- Delicate filo pastry sheets are transformed into a densely layered, sticky square of heaven, saturated in local Bahamian honey and a diced almond and walnut compote. Baklava will quickly satisfy your sweet tooth… but they’re far too yummy to have just one of.

Other delicious specialities we’ll have our eye on:

  • Pastitsio (baked pasta with ground beef and bechamel)
  • Spanakopita (spinach and cheese pastry)
  • Fried Calamari
  • Moussaka (eggplant and mashed potato casserole)
  • Shrimp & Feta Saganaki (sauteed shrimp in tomato sauce with feta cheese)
  • Pork & Chicken Souvlaki (meat on a skewer)
  • Kourabiedes (almond shortbreads)
  • Kataifi (shredded pastry dessert with syrup)

 Drinks To Shoot Or Sip

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera
Credit: Greek Festival

The Greek Festival’s beverage selection is so vast, exotic, and enticing that its repertoire matches the breadth and taste experiences of the food on hand- no easy feat! Both cultures have long standing traditions that readily include alcohol at the forefront of any gathering, a seemingly dangerous combination,  but always proving to make for a good time!

Liquor- Ouzo is an anise-flavoured sipping aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus but at our Greek Festival you’ll find it’s served chilled in a one ounce glass for shooting!

Beer- Ice-cold, specially imported selections of Greek beers will be up for grabs with returning favourites like Mythos and Alfa being festival-goers lagers of choice.

Wine- Greek sangria prepared with dry white wine, Greek brandy Metaxas, orange liqueur, apricot nectar, and slices of fresh orange, lemon, lime, and sprigs of mint is a fragrant and fruity beverage that pairs well with sunny Nassau afternoons.

OPA! Music And Dance

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera
Credit: Greek Festival

Moved to the rhythms of traditional Greek bouzouki and mandolin instruments, you may find yourself joining in on folklore numbers including: handkerchief dances, circle dances, chair lifting, plate smashing, and table top shimmying. Heard around the festival grounds are echos of “OPA!” every time a cork pops or an effervescent beer cap is released. Greek Fest truly is a feel-good, non-stop party; you can’t help but feel as though you’re a part of the family.

*Bonus- If you make your way past all of the intoxicating food and drink stalls to the hall of the church, you’ll find second hand books on sale, hand-crafted jewellery, a silent auction, and other fun festival merchandise!

Event Details

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Credit: Google

Greek Orthodox Church: West Street, Downtown Nassau
Saturday, February 18: 12:00pm – 11:00pm
Sunday, February 19: 12:00pm – 11:00pm
Admission Fee: $10.00
Parking Options: The British Colonial Hilton ($6), Elizabeth On Bay (Elizabeth Street- $1)