Food is highlight at Campbell Greek festival
By Joe Gorman
Steady rain and gray skies didn’t keep people from flocking to the St. Michael The Archangel Greek Festival Saturday.
Indeed, what better way to wile away the hours on a rainy day than with traditional Greek food?
As always, the food was the main attraction at the festival, and those in attendance in the church hall on 12th Street were singing the praises of the meals and treats they enjoyed.
Chris Shaffer of Pennsylvania was enjoying souvlaki and grape leaves and said he attends all of the festivals he can in the region because they are the best places to get authentic Greek food.
“Hands down, you have to come to a Greek festival to get Greek food,” Shaffer said.
Larry Cipriano of Austintown, who grew up in Campbell, was leaving with both hands full, as he took home dinners of lamb, chicken, gyros as well as several different kinds of Greek pastries.
“I try to hit all the Greek festivals,” Cipriano said. “It’s really great food.”
Also popular were Greek doughnuts — ball-shaped mounds of dough topped with honey and cinnamon.
“We can’t keep them,” said Irene Moylan, who was helping to serve them. She said she has volunteered at the festival for several years and has noticed the festival has begun to not only get bigger, but to attract people who are not Greek but like to come for the food.
Helen Frangos, another church volunteer who was working at the pastries tables, said she has noticed that trend also.
“A lot of non-Greeks come back for the food,” Frangos said.
As for the pastries, Frangos said there is a large crew that helps to make them. She said some of them can be made up to a month before the festival and frozen, but anything with cream in them has to be baked fresh.
The most popular pastries are baklava, which are stacks of phyllo dough filled with honey and nuts, Frangos said.
Also popular were the gyros, and Dean Paidas was part of a crew that was making them. Paidas, of Warren, also helps out at the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church Festival there.
The secret to a great gyro is the sauce, Paidas said, and the sauce at St. Michael The Archangel is made of cucumber and garlic.
All the churches that have festivals make their own gyro sauce, he explained.