Greek Summerfest endures the heat in flavorful fashion

By William K. Alcorn


The extreme heat hurt attendance at Summerfest 2012, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church’s annual festival, but the star of the event, the food, was as delicious as ever.

Summerfest, which featured Greek foods and pastries, traditional music, a Chinese auction and trash and treasure sale, ran Thursday through Sunday at the church at 220 N. Walnut St.

“We come every year,” said Mike and Mary Beth Kirila of Canfield, who were there Sunday with their son, Brandon.

The Kirilas, who operate Vaschak-Kirila Funeral Home in Cornersburg and Kirila Funeral Home in Struthers, say their favorite is the roast lamb, and they took home some Greek cookies.

Bud and Rhonda Guerino of Farrell, Pa., were on their way to a jazz festival when they saw the sign for the Greek Festival and decided to give it try. They liked the lamb dinner so much they plan to come again next year.

“There are unique foods you don’t usually get, and they don’t skimp on the portions,” said Rhonda.

The lamb and the chicken are the most popular items on the menu, said Socrates Kolitsos, president of the Parish Council.

The festival, which has been put on for about 25 years, is the principal fund- raiser for the church, which was founded in 1919. The current structure was built in 1960, said Kolitsos.

“The heat hurt us tremendously. Those who did come didn’t eat as much, and a lot didn’t come at all because of the heat,” he said.

Kolitsos estimated that the festival attracted about half of the usual 1,500 per day. The money raised goes toward operation of the church.

It also helps bring the church family together, said Gus Mavrigian, president of the Parish Council in the 1970s.

A tremendous amount of work is done by volunteers to get the food and pastries ready, said Mavrigian, retired professor emeritus in the Youngstown State University Mathematics Department.

He said several men and a couple of women cook the lamb and chicken dinners, and the Ladies Philoptochos Society, known as the Tuesday Club, got together on Tuesdays for months to make the sweets and breads for Summerfest.

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