After three years, St. George Greek Orthodox Church’s Ya’ssoo Greek Festival will return to bring Greek culture to the community.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Food, music, dancing and culture will be shared at St. George Greek Orthodox Church’s Ya’ssoo Greek Festival in Bloomfield Hills. After a three-year break due to COVID-19, the Ya’ssoo — which means “good health” — Greek Festival will return May 27-29.
Father Nicholas Lionas said this year’s festival feels like a celebration of coming together after a period of being separated from each other.
“We’ve come together each year previously as a community, and we invite people from all the surrounding areas to be with us,” Lionas said. “A big part of who we are as a church and a big part of our faith and understanding of God is unifying people together, and one of the ways that we do that is through this festival.”
Plenty of authentic homemade Greek food will be available at the festival for guests to enjoy appetizers, lunch or dinner. All food will be made from scratch by volunteers of the festival.
Popular Greek dishes include lamb shanks in tomato sauce, chicken kabobs, gyros and pastistio. Vegetarian favorites such as spinach pie, tiropita and meatless grape leaves will also be available.
For guests with a sweet tooth, Greek pastries including baklava, kourambiethes, melomakarona and more will be available, as well as Greek coffee.
Ouzo, beer and wine will be available at the event for adult guests.
There will be cooking demonstrations, a cooking contest between two churches and a loukoumades-eating contest.
The Golden Koutala Cook-Off will be between St. George and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. They will compete to see who can make the best Greek pizza.
“Greeks love to party and are happy people who enjoy entertaining, so we are great hosts,” Ya’ssoo Greek Festival volunteer Katherine Sheiko said. “We enjoy having people in our homes and certainly will enjoy bringing them into our church community to show them why they would want to be Greek and enjoy the Greek experience.”
Church tours will be available throughout the run of the festival.
As guests are enjoying the food and drinks, there will be various entertainments at the event, including Greek music, theater and dance.
The festival welcomes the Dave Bennett Quartet to the stage 6-8 p.m. Friday, May 27. The quartet is known for performing swing, jazz, pop and other original songs.
One of Detroit’s Greek bands, Enigma, will be performing all three days at the Ya’ssoo Greek Festival. Formed in 1999, this seven-piece band covers new and classic music. Enigma has been playing at the festival for many years.
“Enigma is very well known in the Greek community in the area,” Sheiko said.
Other entertainment will include Greek DJ music, a magician, Greek folk bands, youth dancing and more.
There will be a variety of kid-centered activities during the festival, which will be open each day until dusk. Games, facepainting and inflatables will be among the fun for young ones at the festival. The Detroit Tigers’ mascot Paws will make an appearance at the festival.
Admission is free for children under 12. For everyone else, admission costs $3, or 3 canned food items to be donated to Lighthouse of Oakland County.
The Ya’ssoo Greek Festival will run 4-10 p.m. on Friday, May 27; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, May 28; and noon-10 p.m, Sunday, May 29.
More information can be found on yassoogreekfestival.com and on the festival Facebook page.