Winter Haven: Greek Festival

Two miniature Greek national flagsSt. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Winter Haven held its annual Greek Festival recently.  Just like last year, my wife and I went to enjoy lunch at the event.  Sadly, due to family commitments, we didn’t really have time to take in a church tour or music festivities, but the food was still well worth the trip.

Lunch area at Greek Festival in Winter Haven, FloridaAdmission is only $2 per person – the ticket is good for the entire 3-day festival, so you can come and go and not have to pay for admission again.  There are two areas serving food, one indoors and one outdoors.  The indoor area offered more “entree-like” items for sit-down meals.  Outdoors was more oriented around smaller meals that were easier to carry.  We chose the outdoor menu, primarily because it was a beautiful day and we wanted to eat our lunch outside.  We ate in a large, covered area where a gentleman was playing a stringed guitar-like instrument (maybe a bouzouki but we were far away, so I’m not certain) supplemented with recorded music.

Two orders of Greek French fries at Greek Festival in Winter Haven, FloridaWe each ordered a side of Greek fries, French fries lightly seasoned primarily with salt and oregano.  The fries were probably frozen, but they turned out nicely crispy and the seasoning was a nice touch.

Souvlaki sandwich at Greek Festival in Winter Haven, FloridaMy wife ordered a souvlaki sandwich, 2 skewers of souvlaki meat with tomatoes, onions, and a yogurt sauce in a pita wrap.  I’ve read that souvlaki is generally pork in Greece but is often different meat in other countries.  My wife was not certain but felt that hers tasted like lamb.  Either way, it was “completely delicious,” in her words.

Fried calamari with pita bread and vegetables at Greek Frestival in Winter Haven, FloridaFor my lunch, I ordered calamari.  This was a hearty portion of fried calamari with several pieces of pita bread, tomato, and some olives (hidden under the pita in the photo).  I love calamari and don’t have many opportunities to enjoy it, so this was a real treat.  The calamari was crispy on the outside without being overcooked, and the pita and veggies complemented it very nicely.

2 Loux brand soft drinks, 1 orange and 1 lemon, at Greek Festival in Winter Haven, FloridaFor beverages, we each had a Loux brand soft drink; my wife had orange and I had lemon.  They are just soft drinks, but they both had good flavor and we enjoyed having something from an actual Greek company.  And we did have time to briefly stroll around the indoor food market and pick up some pastries and tsoureki sweet bread to enjoy later.

Our total for our lunch was $32.  That seemed like a good deal for the amount of food we got; even though some of it was probably frozen, it seemed authentically prepared, among a friendly group of folks, and with live music to boot.  We appreciate Greek Festival every year and we’re looking forward to next year!  St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church is on Bradbury Road in Winter Haven, just off Winter Lake Road.  Follow them on Facebook to keep up to date with next year’s schedule.

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