Modern problems require modern solutions—so the fest is headed online this year with Greek Fest To-Go!
Around June, the festival committee started brainstorming ways to keep Greek Fest alive amid the pandemic, says Bessy Nikolaou, who's been involved with Greek Fest since she was 11 years old. They soon came to the decision to move everything online.
“We spun up the concept of Greek Fest To-Go pretty quickly,” says Nikolaou. “We had the luxury of the tools and technology to facilitate a pretty committed volunteer team and the human resources.”
Every weekend for the month of August, Greek Fest To-Go is offering traditional favourites like baklava, souvlaki, and chicken gyros. They’re available to order online in advance and pick up at St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church at 1146 Purcells Cove Road where the festival is typically held each year.
Orders are paid for in advance and the pick up is done “drive-thru” style (if you don’t have a car, bus 14 or 415 will get you closest). Like previous years, you can also donate to Feed Nova Scotia when you place an order.
Nikolaou says community elders are happy to have a chance to get together and play a key role in making this year's Greek Fest happen, preparing nearly all of the food being sold.
Originally the festival was going to be postponed until next year but Nikolaou says the support received from both inside and outside the Greek community made the committee rethink their decision.
“We just thought, "Why wait until 2021? Let's try something different,'" she says. "Let's bring a sense of normalcy back in the city of Halifax. Bring a little piece of Greece to the heart of Halifax. We love doing that."
Although there won’t be any traditional Greek dancing or performances at Greek Fest this year, Nikolaou hopes more cultural events will follow suit by moving online rather than cancelling altogether.
“Culture is such an important part of the fabric of Halifax and the diversity. We’ve been leaders in the realm of cultural festivals,” Nikolaou says. “We really hope this inspires other communities to think differently about their festivals as well.”
Visit the Greek Fest To-Go! website to pre-order for the weekend of August 14, 15 and 16, or August 21, 22 and 23. Remember that COVID restrictions (like wearing a mask and social distancing) still apply, and only 50 people are permitted to arrive at the church for pickup per time slot.