YOUNGSTOWN Greek festival planned

A downtown Youngstown church will feature some tasty ways to laud Greek culture.
YOUNGSTOWN -- They rolled it, flattened it and stretched it before finally frying it.
Each of the five women had a role in preparing the dough to make diples for this weekend's three-day event. They were also keeping a sweet and tasty Greek tradition alive.
Diples are deep-fried Greek pastries dipped in honey syrup and topped with cinnamon and walnuts -- and one of several treats that will be featured at Greek Summerfest. The festival will take place Friday through Sunday at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 220 Walnut St.
Many goodies: The dough, which looks like a thick lasagna noodle, is fried to give it a light, flaky texture. The process from flattening to frying takes just minutes.
Some examples of the 12 Greek pastries are Koulourakia, Greek twisted butter cookies, and Tsoureki, which is sweet bread. Assorted meals, such as lamb, chicken and fish dinners, also will be served.
"Baklava [a Greek dessert] is popular and appeals to all cultures," said Katina Karabatsos, a teacher at the church. The recipes for the pastries go back several generations, she also said.
Serves a purpose: The ethnic festival promises to promote fellowship, as well as an appreciation of Greek language and culture. It's also a way of giving something back to the community and unifying the Mahoning Valley's many cultural groups, said the Very Rev. John Karabatsos.
Mary Dimitriou, coordinator for alumni relations at Youngstown State University, said the annual event helps subsidize the church. Dimitriou, a 30-year member, added the festival began as a fund-raiser and is the church's largest source of donations.
Other Summerfest activities include music by H. Nea Kompania, a trash and treasure event and a Chinese auction. A $1,000 grand prize drawing will also be held.
The festival has been affiliated with the church for six years, Dimitriou said.

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