28th Annual Honolulu Greek Festival

The 28th annual Honolulu Greek Festival took place once again this past weekend, August 23rd and 24th, 2008 in the McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Beach Park.

The weather was gorgeous and the park was packed, not only with festival revelers, but beach-goers as well, so parking was a challenge (is it ever not a challenge at this park on a weekend?).

This was now our 5th consecutive year attending this event, and upon walking in, we found the layout and vendor booths were pretty much the same from years’ past. So were the crowd numbers…

It’s a comfortable crowd. Not so jam-packed that you’re squeezing for space or fighting ridiculously-long lines, yet not a ghost-town either. Just right.

When you’re standing in the middle of the courtyard, you can’t help but notice the Hokua and Nauru towers staring down over you…

Hokua on the left and Nauru Tower on the right, both luxury condominiums at a prime location with an amazing view

Entertainment on stage in the Fountain Courtyard was provided by FOTIA, A popular traditional & contemporary Greek band from San Francisco…

FOTIA, a Greek Band from California provides entertainment in the courtyard as revelers dance to the catchy ethnic rhythms


While we didn’t catch it, another artist scheduled to perform in the Fountain Courtyard was Sotos Kappas, a renowned Greek guitarist.

Of course every culture has their own music… and food!

As always, Gyros were a popular food item at the event, as you see the line formed at the tent here…

Grilling the Pita bread for the Gyros…

This has got to be one of the most unique pieces of kitchen equipment I’ve even seen…

A vertical spit roaster!… and they had five of them. OPA!

According to the pamphlet, Gryos is the Greek term for “huli-huli”. A combination of spiced ground beef and lamb is pressed on this vertical spit to cook, then carved in strips as needed (to stay hot) and served in lightly toasted Pita Bread, along with fresh tomato, onion and Tsaziki (cucumber yogurt) sauce.

Greek Gyros, $6 each

Also present was the requisite Greek Salad tent….

Greek and Pasta Salad combo plate, $8

The Greek Salad is made with mixed greens, tomatoes, onions, olives, Feta cheese and Greek dressing. The Pasta Salad is made with Penne pasta, broccoli, olives, red & green peppers and Greek dressing. You could order either one by itself for $7.50, or a combination plate of the two for $8 as shown above.

The Greek Salad station was also where to get Dolmathes plate….

Dolmathes Plate – 3 Dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), served with Tsaziki sauce & bread, $5

This was the first time ever to try what is called ‘Lukomathes’…

Lukomathes, $3

According to the sign, Lukomathes are coined as the “Greek Malasada”, but actually I’d say it’s more like the “Greek Andagi”, as it resembles that more, having a somewhat hard and thick crust and glutenous, yet somewhat mealy texture inside. It’s coated with honey and a few other “secret” ingredients, which was far more interesting than just granulated sugar like that used on a malasada, or nothing at all like Andagi. That’s what really sets it apart. Excellent. You can also opt to have lemon or ouzo sorbet to go along with it, which I know would have elevated this to blissful status. Gotta’ do that next time for sure.

The souvlaki tent…

The Taverna tent…

The Taverna tent offered Greek and Heineken Beer, Greek wines, Ouzo, soda and water

Heading towards indoors, you find the pastry booth, loaded with authentic Greek delights including Baklava, Kourabiethes, Koulourakia, Kataifi and Ravini.

There’s also an “Ethnic Foods Dining Room” located indoors. Here’s what was on the menu there…

If you really enjoyed what you ate there, consider recreating those same dishes at home by checking out the products at the Greek Deli market…

Mythology Extra Virgin Olive Oil imported from Crete, Greece and Orlando California grape leaves

Fantis Tahini, Onassis Giant Baked Beans & Vine Leaves Stuffed with Rice (Dolmades)

Mythology Organic EVOO, EVOO and Fantis Fire-roasted Red Peppers

Cavender’s All-Purpose Greek Seasoning, Monastiri Bitter Orange Preserves and Fantis Greek Ground Coffee

Fantis Hilopitas Tripolis (Greek egg noodle)

EVOO backstock

No shortage of Olive Oil here, that’s for sure.

Always remember…

Along with good food and music, every culture festival must have arts and crafts…

Event logo shirts and other accessories in various print designs, colors and styles were also available…

The Honolulu Greek Festival is hosted by Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Pacific as a fundraiser event. Therefore you will find several booths there offering items pertaining to their faith…

Bouzouki Greek string instrument miniature replica (about 6″ length actual size)

There’s also an air-conditioned indoor auditorium (which is a nice escape from the mid-day heat), during which time we were there, Partners In Time, a Balkan folks music group were performing on stage…

Partners In Time – Balkan Music

Other scheduled performances included the Nisiotes Dancers and “Mount Athos, Yesterday & Today”, a presentation by Dr. Carlos Moreno.

Once again we thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful ethnic food, music, browsing the Agora (Greek Marketplace), and most of all, the friendly folks that volunteer and work, as well as those who came to support the event. See you again next year at the Honolulu Greek Festival. OPA!

Related Links:
Honolulu Greek Festival – official website
26th Annual Honolulu Greek Festival

P.S. Coming soon next weekend!…

The 26th Annual Okinawan Festival
Saturday & Sunday, August 30 & 31, 2008
Kapiolani Park in Waikiki


8 thoughts on “28th Annual Honolulu Greek Festival

  1. I use to live in San Francisco for a while and really enjoy many different kind of food there. Greek food was great. I learn to make falafel, baklava and hummus. Gyros with lamb is my favorite. Not far away was Daphne’s a Greek cafe I visited off and on. In sunset district I buy grocery from a Greek run grocery store very popular still on 22th ave and Irving.

    Falafel is not hard to make and healthy it vegi. But I am still an island person and like any kind of food that out there

  2. Thanks for taking us to the Greek Festival! I’m sad that we just missed it. The day Annie and I got engaged at Waiola Shave Ice, we met up with friends at the Greek Festival to show off her ring. So I suppose this past weekend was an anniversary of our engagement.

    OK, gotta go kiss the wife 🙂

  3. I love the photos! You’re an awesome photog, Pomai.

    We have a fun annual Greek festival in Seattle, too, the St. Demetrios fesitival (http://www.seattlegreekfestival.com), a popular three-day event with music, food and tours of the beautiful St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox church. This was where I learned that little Greek old ladies trying to snag a table for their families are fiercer than little old Chinese ladies trying to snag good produce in Chinatown. 🙂

    My favorite foods there are moussaka, freshly fried calamari and baklava. The good parishioners of St. Demetrios also have a bake sale each holiday season where you can pre-order whole trays of baklava and other ono baked goods. I’d order some, but I’m afraid the baklava would never make it home.

  4. I enjoy moussaka very much. Learning more of other food is great. There more in Hawaii than saimim, and locomoco stuff. In Honolulu Star Bulletin By Request columm Croque Monsieur I had it while studying in the states years ago it rock. Falafel I use a mix from supermarket but I also found on web a recipe now when I could have falafel.

    People around never thought I enjoy eating other type of food but hey, it like traveling but not having to go too far from home. Aloha.

  5. Yes, trying many different countrie cusines is like traveling. Glad there these festivals going on in Hawaii to learn of many cultures we have.

    Pomai, which restaurants have the best ice cream desserts? I only know Farrell in Pearlridge. Been going to Farrell since teenager when it was at Ala Moana mall.

  6. I always wonder too which one also. In restaurants not ice cream stands of course. I like mine with brownie ala mode. Farrells great for I even request them to sing a song for my cousin who was visiting out of town and I order a special ice cream dessert for her . It was lot of fun. The pearlridge mall is great for shopping and dinning.

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