Opa! 2019 Greek Festival debuts new Mastiha bar during Memorial weekend event

The Greek Festival will feature a unique liqueur at the new Mastiha Bar.

The 46th annual Greek Festival will debut a new Mastiha bar when the event returns to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral along the banks of Bayou St. John on May 23 to May 26.

Photo courtesy: Greek Fest via Frank Aymami Photography

Organizers are dubbing the 2019 event the “Year of the Mastiha,” and they’re excited to feature the delectable, unique liqueur for the first time.

Served cold over ice, or in a specialty cocktail, mastiha offers a pine or cedar-like, sweet taste and is the perfect accompaniment to any dish served at the festival or as a digestive.

Photo courtesy: Greek Fest via Frank Aymami Photography

Mastiha hails from the island of Chios and is flavored with mastic oil. Lauded for its medicinal properties, it is said that Hippocrates famously used mastiha to help ails of digestive problems, colds and even as a breath freshener.

The fest will also feature wine, ouzo, ouzo Jell-O shots and ouzo daiquiris.

Photo courtesy: Greek Fest via Frank Aymami Photography

In addition to the new Mastiha Bar, the Greek Festival will also feature new menu items for festival-goers this year.

The newest food booth, Moussaka & More, will serve moussaka, feta fries and Greek salad. Other new items include a lamb plate, the “Not Just for Vegans Platter” and gluten free items.

Photo courtesy: Greek Fest via Frank Aymami Photography

Organizers also announce the return of the Thursday soft opening after the huge response in 2018.

The soft opening on Thursday, May 23 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. will feature a limited menu including the Traditional Greek Dinner, the lamb dinner, Greek salad and Greek pastries, all pre-packaged in to-go boxes, along with wine, beer, and soft drinks.

The Greek Grocery, with imported cheeses, Kalamata olives, other delicacies and home items, will also be open.

“We had such a huge response last year, we decided it was a wonderful way to open the festival moving forward,” festival chair Ginny Zissis said. “We saw quite a few families take advantage of having a relaxing Greek dinner on Bayou St. John with much more room to allow their children to play. This is an experience only the Greek Festival can offer!”

Photo courtesy: Greek Fest via Frank Aymami Photography

The full festival kicks off on Friday, May 24 with the annual Greek Festival 5k Run/Walk – a tradition for thousands of avid runners.

The festival will also bring back vegan and vegetarian dishes this year that feature faro and lentil salad, Greek green beans, Kalamata olives, skorthalia made with potato and garlic and pita bread. The vegetarian plate is loaded with tzatziki, chickpea salad, dolmathes, Kalamata olives and pita bread.

Photo courtesy: New Orleans Greek Festival

“We want to make sure everyone enjoys our Greek traditions, even those with dietary restrictions. That’s why we have worked hard for the last few years to incorporate vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, paleo, ketogenic, and more to our menu. That way, everyone can be Greek for a weekend,”festival co-chair Gail Psilos said.

Traditional Greek Festival favorites include the Greek dinner, slow-roasted rotisserie lamb, moussaka, gyros, goat burgers, chicken and pork souvlaki. For folks with a sweet tooth, indulge on the baklava sundae, loukoumathes and the popular pastries.

Photo courtesy: Greek Fest via Frank Aymami Photography

The cultural immersion also includes performances from the Hellenic Dancers throughout the weekend and Cathedral tours.

The Gourmet Greek Grocery will be stocked with favorites to take home including imported cheeses, dips, olives, olive oils, spices and more.

Kids can explore the Athenian Playground or conquer the rock climbing wall and check their strength at the Hercules hammer.

Photo courtesy: Greek Fest via Frank Aymami Photography

Admission to Thursday’s Soft Opening is $5 cash-only at the door of the festival. Online ticket sales are not available for Thursday. Also, there will be no live entertainment, outdoor vendors, or shuttle service on Thursday evening. Credit cards are accepted for food and grocery purchases. Children under 12 are free.

Admission is $8 per person on Friday through Sunday, and children under 12 are free. With your purchase of an admission ticket, you will receive a chance to win a door prize of $1000. The winner will be announced on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Winner need not be present.

For more information on the Greek Festival, including details on tickets, parking and shuttle schedules, visit the website.

Photo courtesy: Greek Fest


2019 Memorial Day Weekend Greek Festival Days/Times

Thursday, May 23 – 5 PM to 9 PM – Soft Opening $5 entry
Friday, May 24 – 5 PM to 11 PM – $8 entry online or at the door (includes 5k Walk/Run)
Saturday, May 25 – 11 AM to 11 PM – $8 entry online or at the door
Sunday, May 26 – 11 AM to 7 PM – $8 entry online or at the door

Created in partnership with the 2019 Greek Festival