As I said on Twitter earlier today, "Greek Holiday. Starts tomorrow. So excited that. I can't. Type in complete. Sentences."
Sure, the food is a huge part of why the Annual Greek Holiday here in Tulsa holds a special (and, apparently, excitable) place in my heart. Everything from the Turkish coffee to the from-scratch gyros to the made-by-hand Greek dinners, not to mention the music and the dancing, is part of every native Tulsan's set of childhood memories.
There I was, sitting on our patio the other night and thinking how strange it was that I was having a sudden and intense craving for baklava (and was, therefore, silently planning a midnight trip to the family planning isle of Walgreens), when in fact, thanks to the five-generations-old Tulsan blood slogging through my veins, it was practically genetic programming for me to feel the need for that Greek pastry as soon as the first winds of autumn blew through earlier this week.
I've been to many a Greek Holiday here in T-Town, but two stick out in my mind. First was the 2007 festival, the 47th annual. I was three and a half months pregnant, my belly was already bursting from my waistband, I was exhausted beyond what I thought exhausted could be and I felt nauseated about 25 1/2 hours a day. I somehow made it through three trips to the Porta Potty during the 45 minutes we were there without going projectile on some innocent bystander.
The only other thing my husband and I had time for besides multiple trips to those deplorable excuses for restrooms was a cup of Turkish coffee and a couple of slices of super-crisp, delicately sweet, perfectly nutty baklava, which went perfectly with the dance a group of tike dancers were performing that night.
I didn't even care that once we were home the baklava made a theatrical reappearance practically as soon as we walked through the front door. The whole experience was miserable, awkward, sweaty and, in fewer words, perfect.
Oy. Thar she blows.
Then there was the year I went with this writer girl I came across during one of my searches for Tulsa blogs. Okay, maybe that's not really how this story starts. I'd admired this writer from afar for about two years before I finally worked up the courage to ask her out to coffee so I could ask her if she would pretty please be my friend because OMG, she was so cool!!1!
She accepted, we went to Greek Holiday with our babies, both of which still had that newborn smell, and the rest is history.
Hm. It occurs to me that there exists no photo of Holly and me. Holly and my son, yes. Me and her son, yes. Holly and me, no. Not anywhere, not no how.
This could be yet another bit of evidence for local artist Marty Coleman's theory that Holly and I are actually the same person.
Oh, well. Whether or not Coleman is on to something, go to Greek Holiday this year and make your own memories. All the tools will be there - Greek souvlaki, kalamari, Greek salads galore, spanakopita (SPANAKOPITA!), homemade pastries (GALAKTOBOURIKO!) and dancers (more than 80 authentically costumed ones, to be exact) - and there will be plenty of time to do a bang-up job on the whole thing.
The festival starts tomorrow (Thursday) just in time for lunch at 11 am and will go until 9pm. Greek Holiday will continue Friday and Saturday, 11am-10pm.
Don't forget to grab a quick tour of Holy Trinity while you're at Greek Holiday this year. If you've never visited a Greek Orthodox church before, the structure, both inside and outside, will amaze you. Plus, the priests are cool.
To find Greek Holiday, head toward downtown, hop on the BA Expressway and look for the giant blue and white tent. If you prefer not to navigate by landmarks alone (and you probably aren't willing to stop and ask for directions when you're lost, either), go to 1206 South Guthrie, just two blocks west of 11th and Denver. If you're westbound on the BA, it's easiest to take the Houston exit. Use courtesy when parking, since most of the parking that's available, especially on the weekend nights, is in the adjacent neighborhood.
Admission is $2, and that's just to get in after 4pm on each day of the festival; otherwise, it's free. Plus, festival goers only pay that admission price once. That means that same $2 you paid to get in the first evening gets you in to the festival again at any time. Score, right?
I thought so. See y'all there.
Photo of the child dancers from the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Web site.