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Annual Greek Festival in West Houston is Lots of Fun!

Updated on April 21, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Dancers at the Greek Festival in West Houston
Dancers at the Greek Festival in West Houston | Source

Annual Greek Festivals

The location of this annual Greek festival is at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church in west Houston. The address is 1100 Eldridge Pkwy., Houston, Texas 77077. The Houston Press considers it to be one of "Top 10" most beautiful churches in our city.

Years ago, my husband and I attended a couple of Greek festivals closer to town at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, and we had a good time.

There were two reasons we were drawn to attending the Greek festival at St. Basil, the Great church last year. Number one, our good neighbor is a member and invited us. Number two, it is closer to where we live. So we went, and I can genuinely report that we had a wonderful time.

For people who wish to attend the Greek festival in our city twice a year, that is possible. The one in west Houston is for several days in May, and the one closer in town is in October. I will be sharing photos from our visit to the Greek festival in west Houston from the year 2015.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Greek festival held at this church each year.St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox ChurchArchitectural tower at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church Carved columns at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church Exterior view of St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church Carved doors at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church Crowds at the Greek Fest Greek Fest crowds of people Crowds milling about enjoying festival.
Greek festival held at this church each year.
Greek festival held at this church each year. | Source
St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church
St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church | Source
Architectural tower at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church
Architectural tower at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church | Source
Carved columns at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church
Carved columns at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church | Source
Exterior view of St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church
Exterior view of St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church | Source
Carved doors at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church
Carved doors at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church | Source
Crowds at the Greek Fest
Crowds at the Greek Fest | Source
Greek Fest crowds of people
Greek Fest crowds of people | Source
Crowds milling about enjoying festival.
Crowds milling about enjoying festival. | Source

St. Basil

Here is a layman's synopsis regarding Saint Basil. He came from a wealthy family but also a pious one. Before turning towards religious life, he was a lawyer and teacher. Most of his wealth he ultimately gave to the poor and needy.

Basil of Caesarea, after turning towards an ascetic and religious life, ultimately became the bishop of what we now know as Turkey. One of his central beliefs had to do with the Trinity. God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were all part of the same God.

Doing manual labor and praying in communal monasteries was encouraged by him. He had a monastery built on the estate of his family. St. Basil spent his life teaching, praying, and doing charitable works.

St. Basil was venerated shortly after his death as a saint. To many, he is considered to be a "father" and "doctor" of the church in many Christian religions.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Inside St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church for a tourPulpit inside St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church Seen inside of the large church Back of chapel at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church On wall of chapel at St. Basil the Great church Chapel at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church Decorated chair inside of church Inside the chapel at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church Icon inside St. Basil the GreatIcon inside St. Basil the Great
Inside St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church for a tour
Inside St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church for a tour | Source
Pulpit inside St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church
Pulpit inside St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church | Source
Seen inside of the large church
Seen inside of the large church | Source
Back of chapel at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church
Back of chapel at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church | Source
On wall of chapel at St. Basil the Great church
On wall of chapel at St. Basil the Great church | Source
Chapel at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church
Chapel at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church | Source
Decorated chair inside of church
Decorated chair inside of church | Source
Inside the chapel at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church
Inside the chapel at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church | Source
Icon inside St. Basil the Great
Icon inside St. Basil the Great | Source
Icon inside St. Basil the Great
Icon inside St. Basil the Great | Source

Icons

As to icons seen in this church and others, they are gorgeous. So are statues of Jesus, Mary, and the saints in Catholic churches. The views on icons have been controversial as early as the year 726, from what I have read, but western churches had fewer problems with them.

"Graven images" are forbidden in certain religions, and this contributes to the controversy. The battles raged on as to their acceptance over the centuries. Destruction of some beautiful pieces of ancient art happened due to differing beliefs regarding this subject.

From what my neighbor told me, the flat images (icons) in the Greek Orthodox churches are considered okay. Whereas to this day, they think statues or sculptures of the same saints not to be so. It may be a small detail, but things like that can be points of difference between Christian churches. In some Christian religions, a crucifix with Jesus hanging on the cross is considered an idol, which is forbidden.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Gyros sandwich – Delicious!Tables for resting & dining People watching the dancers Climbing wallFun for kids Greek Festival attendees
Gyros sandwich – Delicious!
Gyros sandwich – Delicious! | Source
Tables for resting & dining
Tables for resting & dining | Source
People watching the dancers
People watching the dancers | Source
Climbing wall
Climbing wall | Source
Fun for kids
Fun for kids | Source
Greek Festival attendees
Greek Festival attendees | Source

The Festival

The Greek festival consisted of four days of being able to taste different types of Greek food. Greek music and dancers dressed in traditional garbs entertained the crowds. They had dancing groups ranging in age from four on up to adults. The Greek costumes many of the dancers wore were detailed and beautiful.

Interested people could take tours of the church. We took advantage of it, as you can tell from my photos.

We did not stay to see the gyro eating contest. Niko Niko's restaurant puts on this "world gyro eating contest." Six cash prizes are awarded, the top prize being $2,500. Naturally, this draws people who do that sort of thing for the prize money.

Another contest with a smaller prize of $100 is for non-Greek people who wish to get up in front of the audience that day and do some Greek dancing. I am sure that it is fun to watch, and it was happening the day we were there, but we had other plans for later that day so we could not stay to view it.

The food is typical Greek consisting of such things as the gyro sandwiches which we both chose to eat. Other items are stuffed grape leaves, souvlaki, spanakopita, tiropita, pastichio, and lamb to mention just some of the offerings. Of course, for dessert, there is baklava and loukoumades.

Arched columns at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church
Arched columns at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church | Source

Outdoor Event

Except for the church tours given by Father Luke Palumbis, this is an outdoor event. Tents are set up for some shade in places. A few vendor tables were there selling various goods, including jewelry.

A children's area had an inflatable slide for the little ones as well as other carnival-type rides. Estimates of around 15,000 people attend this 4-day event.

To find out the dates, times, prices, and parking information for each annual event, click on the source listing below.

Have you ever attended a Greek festival?

See results

Sources:

http://www.houstongreekfest.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_of_Caesarea

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods

Comments

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      10 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Denise,

      Do attend a Greek festival in your area. They are a lot of fun! We have attended this one and another in our area.

      Yes, the icons in this church are indeed beautiful.

      I also hope that they fix it so that we can comment on all posts!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      I know they have Greek festivals here in Fresno CA but I haven't been to one yet. Something always seems to come up. I'm going to have to make time for it. I loved the iconic Byzantine-type frescos. Very historic.

      Blessings,

      Denise

      PS. I'd love to comment on some more of your recipe articles but as of yet, Delishaby wouldn't allow it. It's a bug they need to fix eventually.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi C E Clark,

      It was fun attending this Greek festival at our end of the city. Many events like this may or may not take place this year because of the pandemic. I agree with you that the wearing of masks and avoiding crowds is important at this time to avoid the spread of COVID. We personally know of people affected, and a neighbor who died of it. Take care!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      11 months ago from North Texas

      Sounds like fun. I love gyro sandwiches and stuffed grape leaves. As always, your photos are great!

      Posting this on FB & AH.

      There have now been 100 deaths in this county from Coronavirus, and over 180,000 deaths nationwide.

      Yes, so many people object to wearing masks, and some are of the opinion that masks can cause disease and death. Have no idea where they get that from.

      I can only say that I wish wearing a mask was the worst problem I have ever had to face or deal with in my life. Apparently most people have lived charmed lives because they imagine wearing a mask to be the worst thing anyone has ever asked or required them to do.

      With all the problems in this world, and some are pretty horrible, it's incredible to me that so many people believe wearing a mask when they go out, or deciding whether to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, are the most egregious ones that must be dealt with first.

      Stay safe!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      To answer your question, perhaps, many of their church members are of Greek origin? That is a guess on my part.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      11 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Festivals are always fun times and the pictures here show that. I wonder why the Greek festival is held at a Church. The St. Basil Church is, of course, very beautiful.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      14 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      Like you, I also learned more about icons versus other religious depictions. I am glad that you found this to be informative.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      14 months ago from USA

      I learned some things about religious depictions here. This festival looks like a lot of fun. I bet half of the non-Greek people there still pronounce gyros “ji-rose.”

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      15 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Liz,

      Hopefully someday those icons you got to see in northern Cyprus will be restored.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      15 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ruby,

      Greek festivals are a lot of fun. The dancing and music in addition to the food make it special.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      15 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rachel,

      Perhaps you have other types of festivals in your area? The Greek ones are definitely fun!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      15 months ago from UK

      The icons remind me of some I have seen in northern Cyprus. Although most of those had been left to deteriorate by the Turkish Cypriots. This sounds like a great festival.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      15 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Kyriaki,

      That gyro sandwich was indeed delicious!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      15 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Louise,

      Everyone seemed to be having a great time at the festival.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      15 months ago from Southern Illinois

      The church is so beautiful. I have never attended a Greek festival, but I would like to. It sounds like a lot of fun. Great pictures!

    • profile image

      Rachel Alba 

      15 months ago

      Hi Peggy, Your pictures are beautiful and you make the Greek Festival look so inviting along with your descriptions. I don't think there is one near my town. Thanks for sharing all of your pictures and events.

      Blessings to you.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      15 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      I am happy for you and the other residents in Barre, Vermont (when you lived there) that they had festivals like this.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      15 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rosina,

      This church is a beauty! I am glad you liked learning about the Greek Festival there.

    • Kyriaki Chatzi profile image

      Kyriaki Chatzi 

      15 months ago

      Greeks know how to party!! :) PS: The gyros sandwich looks delicious.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      15 months ago from Norfolk, England

      It does look like they have a lot of fun. And I love the photo's.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love ethnic festivals. There was one in Barre, Vermont, when we lived there. Who would have ever dreamed of an ethnic festival in a granite town? :)

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      15 months ago

      It was nice to know about Annual Greek Festivals at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church. The activities that take place, the views and the food are marvelous. The images are attractive. Thank you for sharing a superb hub.

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