Memorial Day weekend in New Orleans calls for food, music, and outdoor family fun – all the makings of a great festival. Lucky for us, the New Orleans Greek Festival falls from May 24-26 this year (soft opening on May 23), making our Memorial Day weekend well worth the wait. The festival, held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral on 1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd., includes traditional Greek cuisine, Hellenic dancing, cathedral tours, cooking demonstrations, a marketplace, live entertainment, and much more. Head on over to Bayou St. John and spend the weekend enjoying the best of Greek Fest.
Come hungry – the food options at Greek Fest are endless. Feta fries, calamari, goat burgers, slow-roasted rotisserie lamb, gyro meat, and traditional Greek and vegetarian dinner plates are just some of the food options at this festival. Fun twists on traditional Greek desserts will also be available for purchase including baklava sundaes and Greek beignets served with honey and cinnamon or Nutella. Cool off with a pomegranate iced tea or a frothy Greek iced coffee. Before you leave, make sure to stop by the Greek Grocery to browse from an assortment of fresh and imported ingredients such as cheese, olives, homemade dips, and spices to take home.
There’s live entertainment during all of Greek Fest, including authentic Greek music and dancing both inside the Hellenic Cultural Center and outdoor at the live music stage. Bring your collapsible chairs or claim your spot along the bayou to enjoy the music at Greek Fest.
Just like any great New Orleans festival, Greek Fest has an official poster for each year of the festival. Get your poster and official festival t-shirt while attending. At the outdoor market, also known as the Agora, you’ll find jewelry, clothing, souvenirs, and Hellenic imports directly from Greece. Festival visitors can also swing by the Holy Trinity Museum Store to purchase Byzantine icon prints and other items representing the historic collection of the Holy Trinity.
The Outdoor Activities
There’s plenty of opportunities to get up and be active at Greek Fest. The kids can enjoy the Athenian Playground, complete with a climbing wall and inflatables, while adults enjoy a canoe ride down Bayou St. John. The annual Greek Festival Run/Walk will be held Friday evening with registration beginning at 6 p.m. The start of the one-mile race is at 7:00 p.m. and the 5K start is at 7:30 p.m. The race will be held on Lakeshore Drive, starting and finishing on Beauregard Avenue at Old Spanish Fort.
Learn about the history of Holy Trinity Cathedral, the oldest Greek Orthodox church in the Americas, with a free guided tour on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Enjoy cooking demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday and Greek dancing performances all weekend long. Admission to Greek Fest is $8 ($5 at the gate on Thursday), but a tastefully-worn toga gets you into the festival for free on Sunday. Come in your best toga for a chance to enter the toga contest on Sunday evening.