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Bayard church Greek fest in Bridgeport

September 5, 2011

I was too exhausted to go to it last year, so I HAD to go this year. I can now say I’ve experienced (part of) the Greek festival, which has been a North Platte Valley tradition since 1926, when the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church (website slogan: “You don’t have to be Greek to be Greek Orthodox!) was founded in Bayard.

This post is delayed by a few weeks because I got caught up in trying to ferret out some historical information about how we came to have a Greek community in our midst. (The only clue I could find right away was information about anti-Greek riots in Omaha in 1909 – perhaps a push factor that led Greeks to migrate westward?) Rather than let this post languish until I found the info, I decided to go ahead and put it out there based mainly on the merits of my photos of food, which is the primary reason I attended the festival anyway. I ♥ Greek food!

Note: the festival supports the Greek Orthodox church in Bayard, but the celebration is held in Bridgeport, in the lovely Prairie Winds Community Center. Here is a picture of the Bayard church, which I managed to find by turning down a random street in Bayard on the way home from Bridgeport. I think the Greek food in my bloodstream guided me there.

The organizers of the Greek festival did a smart thing. On a table leading into the community center gym, they placed an example of each type of food served, along with a description and a pronunciation guide.

Tyropita. Ti-roh-pi-ta. Cheesy phyllo goodness.

Hummus sampler - dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) included.

The Greek salad had dolmathes, too!

There was also falafel (the best I’ve had in years!), manestra (kinda like Greek spaghetti), loukanika (sorta similar to a bratwurst), souvlaki (grilled skewered meat – I had lamb), calamari (I am not a fan of marine invertebrates as a side dish) and gyros, of course.

The gyros were made to order, assembly-line fashion. The little buckets with sand and candles were everywhere. Part of the "Greek seashore" decor, you see.

We arrived about 30 minutes after the Greek festival opened, and the place was pretty packed. It only got busier.

Love the décor!

Sponges, netting and travel posters evoke the Greek coastline.

Even the beer was Greek!

Gotta get me a Fix!

I stuffed myself to near-immobility, and the dessert about did me in: a baklava sundae with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Here is my partly-eaten sundae. I almost forgot to take a picture. Droooool . . .

My one regret is that I was not able to stay to witness the dancing because I had another engagement on the calendar for that evening.

There’s always next year!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention when this festival was held. It was August 13 this year.

Copyright 2011 by Katie Bradshaw

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