As drivers traveled up and down Kingston Pike, floods of people carrying packages of savory food, ornate jewelry and ethnic clothing could be seen streaming down the sidewalks. All weekend long, Knoxville residents explored the annual Greek Fest put on by St. George Greek Orthodox Church.
    
This year marked the 32nd anniversary of the Greek Fest. For a mere $2 day pass or $3 weekend pass, Knoxvillians were immersed in the world of Greek culture. As in previous years, the customers were not lacking in number.
    
“The weather is usually the controlling factor for success,” vendor Mike Nassios said. “We feel very fortunate.”
    
One of the many charms about this festival is its atmosphere of authentic Greek culture. Customers roamed through the replicated sights and aromatic smells seeking one of the festival’s main attractions: the food.
    
“They had so many different kinds of food,” junior Jordan Bernadini said. “I’m not usually one to try foreign food, but it all looked so appetizing. It just tasted fresh and the desserts were amazing.”
   
 Among the dessert options were the sticky and sweet Loukoumades, a kind of Greek donut topped with warm honey and cinnamon. This, like many other foods vendors sold, was an old family recipe and was seen in the hands of many of the customers.
    
“We start preparing and cooking in the spring,” Nassios said. “One hundred percent of the stuff is homemade.”
    
Visitors were provided with background music as they congregated and shopped. Traditional Greek numbers played and dancers fell into step — many of these moves were similar to those seen in the flash mob that broke out in Market Square last week.
   
 “I wasn’t in Market Square when the flash mob broke out, but I saw the video online,” Bernadini said. “The dancing at the actual festival was like it, and looked like a lot of fun. It’s a cool tradition that they have in their culture.”
    
In addition to the food and music, customers meandered indoors to find the tables dedicated to jewelry, clothes and other miscellaneous objects all echoing the traditional Greek culture.
    
The festival attracted not only faithful customers from throughout the years, but also some that had a sentimental attachment to the church itself.
    
“We’re in from out of town, and we wanted to help out,” volunteer Pete Couladis said. “My wife went here growing up.”
    
This year’s Greek Fest was a success — food and fellowship, two of the Greek’s cultural aspects, were seen and enjoyed by the many who came out to support. This festival brought invaluable meaning to many of those running it.
    
“We not only got to share our culture with the community, but also our religion,” Nassios said.