NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The 46th Annual Greek Festival is excited to feature an exquisite, sweet treat for the first time this year! 2019 is the year of the Mastiha – a delectable, unique liqueur that can only be found at the Mastiha Bar at the Greek Festival Memorial Day Weekend.
Mastiha hails from the island of Chios and is flavored with mastic oil. Lauded for its medicinal properties, it is said that Hippocrates famously used mastiha to help ails of digestive problems, colds and even as a breath freshener. Served cold over ice, or in our specialty cocktail, mastiha offers a pine or cedar-like sweet taste and is the perfect accompaniment to any dish served at the festival or as a digestif.
Organizers are also excited to announce they are bringing back the Thursday, May 23 soft opening from 5 – 9 pm with a limited menu that will consist of the Traditional Greek Dinner, the lamb dinner, Greek salad, Greek pastries, all in go boxes pre-packaged, along with wine, beer, and soft drinks. The Greek Grocery, with imported cheeses, Kalamata olives, and other delicacies and home items, will also be open. Sit outside by the Bayou and enjoy your meal and evening.
“We had such a huge response last year, we decided it was a wonderful way to open the festival moving forward,” said Festival Chair Ginny Zissis. “We saw quite a few families take advantage of having a relaxing Greek dinner on Bayou St. John with much more room to allow their children to play. This is an experience only the Greek Festival can offer!”
Please note that admission to Thursday’s Soft Opening is $5 cash-only at the door of the festival. Online ticket sales are not available for Thursday. Also, there will be no live entertainment, outdoor vendors, or shuttle service on Thursday evening. Credit cards are accepted for food and grocery purchases. Children under 12 are free.
Friday through Sunday, Admission is $8 per person, children under 12 are free, and with your purchase of an Admission ticket, you will receive a chance to win a door prize of $1000. The winner will be announced on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Winner need not be present.
The Festival is also excited to bring back vegan and vegetarian dishes this year that feature faro and lentil salad, Greek green beans, Kalamata olives, skorthalia made with potato and garlic, and pita bread. The vegetarian plate is loaded with tzatziki, chickpea salad, dolmathes, Kalamata olives and pita bread.
“We want to make sure everyone enjoys our Greek traditions, even those with dietary restrictions. That’s why we have worked hard for the last few years to incorporate vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, paleo, ketogenic, and more to our menu. That way, everyone can be Greek for a weekend,” adds Festival Co-Chair Gail Psilos.
Traditional Greek Festival favorites include the Greek dinner, slow-roasted rotisserie lamb, moussaka, gyros, goat burgers, chicken and pork souvlaki. For folks with a sweet tooth, indulge on the baklava sundae, loukoumathes and don’t forget the pastries! Oh, the pastries!
In its 46th year, the festival continues to be a family favorite at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral on the banks of Bayou St. John every Memorial Day Weekend. The Thursday Soft Opening is on Thursday, May 23. The full festival kicks off Friday, May 24 with the annual Greek Festival 5k Run/Walk – a tradition for thousands of avid runners.
The Festival is nothing short of a cultural immersion with the Hellenic Dancers primed to perform multiple times over the weekend. The Gourmet Greek Grocery will be stocked with favorites to take home including imported cheeses, dips, olives, olive oils, spices and more. Tour the beautiful Cathedral, then let your kids explore the Athenian Playground or conquer the rock climbing wall and check their strength at the Hercules hammer. Grab a bottle of wine or ouzo and watch the sunset on the Bayou after a canoe ride. Ouzo Jell-O shots or ouzo daiquiris are also available.
For more on the festival and up-to-date information on tickets, parking and shuttle schedules, click here, call Laila Morcos Zissis at 504-615-2388 or email Laila Morcos Zissis . Also, don’t forget to like us on Facebook or Instagram for additional information, images, and video.
2019 Memorial Day Weekend Greek Festival Days/Times
Thursday, May 23 – 5 PM to 9 PM – Soft Opening $5 entry
Friday, May 24 – 5 PM to 11 PM – $8 entry online or at the door (includes 5k Walk/Run)
Saturday, May 25 – 11 AM to 11 PM – $8 entry online or at the door
Sunday, May 26 – 11 AM to 7 PM – $8 entry online or at the door (includes Toga Contest)