By Joe Gorman
Most churches host only one festival a year.
But Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church on Twelfth Street has two because they are important to supporting the church, said Christine Gaetano of Poland, a lifelong member who was in charge of this year’s events.
The fall fest, which follows the winter one, took place Saturday and continues from noon to 9 p.m. today. Gaetano said the church has had the fall festival for about 20 years.
“We depend on the festivals to keep the church going,” she said.
Two festivals in one year is a lot of work, but the church members are always eager to help out, she said.
“We love our church, so it’s a part of us now,” Gaetano said. “These people are awesome.”
Most festivals offer a generous sampling of food, and Saturday’s festival was no exception. Also on hand were handcrafted jewelry and icons by Nativity of Theotokos monastery in Saxonburg, Pa.
Sister Chrysovalantou of the monastery said the artwork is the monastery’s sole means of support. She said monastery members go to a lot of festivals in the surrounding area to sell their art.
Some of the images, especially of icons, take a long time to craft, she said.
On the food side, Helen Frangos of Campbell was handling the cookies and pastries. The most popular item is baklava, which is made out of phyllo dough, walnuts, spices and syrup.
Frangos said syrup is a popular ingredient in Greek pastries, such as galaktomboureko, a type of custard made with phyllo dough and syrup. Also popular is kou- louria, which is good with milk or coffee, and tsovrekia, a type of sweet bread.
Frangos, who is originally from Greece, said that she does not miss traditional Greek cooking from her homeland because it has been passed on to those who settled in America.
“We all make it,” Frangos said.