Let’s face it, summer is over. Many are bummed over the fact that the outdoor dining patios are closing, and they have no more days left at the pool. Ragu is no longer laying out topless, scaring young kids. But the end of summer also brings some good news: Fall Festival Season is upon us !!
We absolutely love festivals, and the fall is our favorite time as the big dogs of the fest world make their appearance. Two of our favorite festivals, The Greek Fest and The Italian Festival kick off the fall season.
Why are they on the same weekend? We do not know why. Do the organizers understand the misery they put us through and the nightmare of scheduling our Food Adventure weekend? Why won’t one of these old cultures move their festival a week later? We may start a petition to put it on the November ballot, so we can spread out our campaign of gluttony.
First up is our study of the Greek Festival (www.daytongreekfestival.com), which is held at the Greek Orthodox Church next to the Dayton Art Institute. This huge festival recently started charging a $2 admission fee. Let us give you a bit of wisdom, GO DURING THE DAY, unless you want to experience the madhouse crowd and sheer pandemonium of trying to find a parking space near this festival.
Sure you can visit the arts & craft area or admire the dancers or a statue. We prefer, however, to admire the gyros, greek beer, and those little golden honey puffs. Oh, did we mention the baklava and trigonas in the building area kick Mt Olymp-ass? The food is reasonably priced, with most items around $3-$6. Another highlight is a tour of the Greek church, one of the more spectacular churches in this area. Oh yea, NO FOOD in the church. This festival offers a huge variety of Greek food, but for you less adventurous souls, there are Greek french fries, and Domino’s pizza’s “Greek slices.” Ragu says go for the good stuff, like a lamb shank dinner. You only get it once a year.
If you are the artsy type, then you may enjoy the Greek Band at night, and the traditional Greek dancing. These dancers jump over napkins, and are better than our best erotic dance moves. We love the Greeks, we are huge Telly Savalas fans from way back in the day.
On the other side of town is our other favorite festival, The Italian Fall Festa (www.italianfallfesta.com), held at Bella Villa Hall on County Line Road, not far from
the Greene. Ragu has to come here, he is Italian for goodness sake. Again, may we plead that you go there during the day, unless you like a brisk walk from the nearby armory, or enjoy walking blocks of streets lined with cars. As you enter the fest, you may be greeted by the sound of Italian music from the live stage.
The outside grounds of the festival features such fare as Cavatelli, Italian sausages, sub-par pizza, calzones and soups. However, some of our favorite items are found inside the hall building and not outside on the grounds. Inside, the hall offers nightly dinners. Friday is Baked Pasta night, and Saturday is stuffed shells night, while Sunday is spaghetti and meatballs. You may even find Ragu working a meatball sub booth outside, or the beer and wine booth inside the hall. Ragu has also been threatening to enter the spaghetti eating contest, held at 3pm on Sunday.
We love, and we mean love the cannoli at this fest. In fact, you are guaranteed to gain 5 pounds by just walking into the pastry area. We love gelato because of this festival, the tasty treat.
The pastries are homemade, but unfortunately a lot of the other outside area food is not. So if you choose to eat outside, be sure to let the vino flow and the food may taste a bit better. And while you are outside, try your hand at bocce ball, where you can reserve a court for a small fee.
So this upcoming weekend, with a gleam in our eye and food stains on our shirts, we say thank you Dayton, for another year of Festival Food Adventures.
What is your favorite food at these festivals? What are your experiences? Please comment below!
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