“This is your chance to become Greek for a day!” announces the program for the annual Asheville Greek Festival. This year marks the festival’s 25th anniversary. It’s held on the campus of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Asheville, 227 Cumberland Ave. in the Montford neighborhood. Sunday hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The festival celebrates the culture of Asheville’s Greek community. In 2002, Xpress learned, “The first Greek in Asheville was Demosthenes Psychoyios, who arrived in 1900 and opened a restaurant on Pack Square—that means he was probably dishing up spanakopita to the likes of Thomas Wolfe. A decade later, the Chakales family came to visit a relative who was recovering from a respiratory illness. They decided to stay in the mountains and raise a family (in fact, they had nine children). During the early 1920s, more Greek families settled in Asheville and opened businesses. John Mimidis opened a hat shop on Pack Square, and the Parthemos family ran the Atlanta Quick Lunch.” Learn more about the Greek community and the history of the local festival here.
The Greek festival includes plenty of food, music, dancing and kids activities (there’s a giant bounce house), but also some Greek specialties. There’s Bakaliko grocery store for Greek food items to stock your own kitchen. There are a number of gift shops selling items from jewelry and wearables to religious icons and Pysanky Easter eggs. The band Nick Demos & the Greek Islanders plays throughout the festival while various dancers from the Church’s adult and youth groups show off their steps and costumes. (Youth dancers perform at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, adults perform at 1 p.m.)
Church tours are available at 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, and cultural and cooking demonstrations take place at noon and 2 p.m.