Consuming kourabiedes is a lot like swimming under water. It’s best to hold your breath while eating the Greek treat, since the sugary, powdery cookies will coat your face if you’re not careful.
Greek food, much like the 86th annual Greek Festival, is unadulterated fun. The event, which commenced in 1935 at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is back as a dine-in experience for the first time since the pandemic.
The festival was canceled in 2020 but take-out was offered in 2021.
“We are very excited about what we believe is the longest-running Greek food festival at a Greek church in the country,” the Rev. Dan Triant said. “We have so much history here. It started as a spaghetti dinner in our basement.”
A Greek spaghetti dinner? “Yes,” Triant said. “It was Greek spaghetti with our spices and cheese.”
Sounds good, but don’t look for spaghetti on the 2022 menu. Indulge in delicious, stuffed-to-the-brim gyros. The lamb is tender and tangy but what makes the Trinity gyros special is the homemade tzatziki sauce.
The gyros are can’t-miss fare but must be followed by the addictive kourabiedes and heavenly baklava.
Another terrific dessert option is loukoumades or Greek fried dough balls, which drip with honey. And then there are the koulourakia, which are sweet and glazed with a hint of vanilla. Whatever sweet should be chased with a cup of Greek coffee, which is strong and delicious.
“We have some fun and tasty options,” Triant said. “I love our cabbage. I love our Greek sausages.”
Triant expects the largest crowd to gather since he moved from Seattle to lead the flock at Spokane’s lone Greek Orthodox church in August 2020. However, he insists the pastries will be offered from Thursday until the event ends Saturday. Last year some goods were gone by late Friday afternoon.
“We now know to make much more and we will,” the Rev. Triant said. “Last year was my first Greek fest and we saw record numbers. We will be prepared this year.”
After sampling the Greek fare, folks can dance the sugar away. Or attendees can have another treat and watch the dancers, who are typically children.
“But you might see me out there for a song or two,” Triant said. “Dancing is a big part of what we do. We eat and we dance. Some of the most basic dances are simply walking in a line. You move to the music and it’s great fun just feeling the music.
“Dancing brings people together. It’s a great deal of fun to eat Greek food and just move around on the dance floor.”
There’s an option for those who are seeking spiritual guidance. Church tours will be available for those who are interested.
“There’s no pressure,” Triant said. “We welcome anyone to come by to see what we’re about. There are a lot of people searching. We’ve had a lot of visitors.
“People are looking for something deeper, especially after the pandemic started. Spokane has seen its growth spurt and so have we. We used to be 100 percent Greek but that’s changed over the years. We have Romanians, Russians, Ukrainians, Ethiopians and Syrians. We’re open and welcoming. Of course, if you just want to come by for our food and dance, we’re fine with that. We’re just glad to finally be back in full swing.”