Each year the city is full of events that feature amazing cultures that inhabit our region, and one that is truly a favorite of mine is our annual greek festival, Yassou!
What makes Yassou! so wonderful is how many points of entry there are for those curious about Greek culture.
For starters, there is the obvious and very obligatory food component of the festival. But rather than leave one in the dark about the mysteriousness and deliciousness of this cuisine, Yassou! offers two cooking classes so that one can begin their culinary journey into Greek food.
For those curious about beverages, there will be beer, but the faithful will be sipping any one of the five Greek wines served this weekend. Winemaking is a long, centuries-old tradition that dates back to authors Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, and Lucian who all documented this unique style of wine!
But do not miss The Frouzo! — a Holy Trinity's creation that is celebrated all over now but started right here in Grand Rapids. This festival favorite is only served locally once a year and features the Greek spirit ouzo mixed with a number of other sweet and tart ingredients … before it is then served frozen! You really can’t miss this one if drinking a very frosty drink is your scene on a hot summer day.
In addition to eating and drinking, Greek dancing is a very old tradition and you will have so many chances to observe, but also participate in, this community-building activity.
The best part of the Yassou! event is that it is a fundraiser for The Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan, so eat, drink, and, most of all, dance! Opa!