Those of you who follow this blog know I have a penchant for community fairs and similar local out-of-the-way events. (I recommend that you plan your road trip so you can take in one or two on the way to wherever your main destination is.)
This week my adopted town, Annapolis, Maryland, got a little taste of Greece. It seems the local Greek Orthodox Church threw its annual Greek Festival. I happened to find out about it on Friday, and word was that it draws folks clear from out of state. That sounded like a pretty good recommendation, so Saturday I bopped over to check the place out.
I arrived an hour before the event was due to start. This got me an excellent parking spot, but at this early hour there was nothing to see. All the displays were covered, and food people were bustling about getting ready, but the food was nowhere in sight. I hate to sit idle, so I swiped a spare garbage bag attached to a trash can and canvassed the area picking up litter. People assumed I was supposed to be there, and gave directions where not to miss, and held out things for me to dispose of. I managed to cover the entire grounds and collect maybe two pounds of things like condiment wrappers and other small stuff. Performing several hundred deep knee bends was pretty good exercise, too.
People began to fill the grounds, and I briefly debated whether to just stay on the grounds or go outside and enter like the rest of the public, and pay whatever the entrance fee was. I’m a good boy, so I went to the entrance. It turned out there was no charge, but at least I had a clean conscience. I also got an unexpected treat. Right at the entrance, creating a nice Greek atmosphere, was a young man playing a traditional if slightly Americanized, stringed instrument. He was good, too! Didn’t look like he was out of high school, but the playing was flawless and interesting. Actually, the instrument was entirely traditional. The electronics provided traditional percussion accompaniment. If he reads this, I hope he submits a comment and introduces himself.
Greeks must like jewelry (my wife says they do), because all but three of the vendors sold at least some jewelry, apparently all handmade in Greece. And they were always busy. I had many hundreds of pieces to choose from. The dining tent had a dance floor set up. Greece is old enough to have traditional dances that are rather more sophisticated then the Watusi, and people learn the dances young.
So what good is a festival without food? The dishware was ordinary fast-food-restaurant foam boxes, but the menu was definitely Greek. The only item not described in English was kalamari, which I happen to know is squid. I saw several plates of it being eagerly devoured. It looks like smallish onion rings. Here is my gyro sandwich, salad, and Greek coffee, twelve bucks.
When I left, the parking lot was jammed and the shuttle bus was full of new arrivals. My wife liked her necklace.