42nd Glendi fest concludes today
One day left to enjoy food and fun at the ...
By William K. Alcorn
Today is the last day to enjoy the food, music and fun at the Greek Festival at St. John The Forerunner Greek Orthodox Church.
The final day of the 42nd annual festival, known as Glendi, a word for a Greek party, runs from noon to 10 p.m. at the church, 4955 Glenwood Ave., near Shields Road.
The festival is one of two major fundraisers the church puts on in the spring. The other is a Seafood Fest during Lent, said Gregg Giannios, owner of Giannios Candy Co. in Struthers and head of the festival’s kitchen operation along with his wife, Ann.
Giannios said volunteers – two each for the pastry, the outside food and the bar, and other volunteers – are what make the festival a success.
The book and souvenir store run by the Rev. Tom Constantine, priest at St. John’s, said the festival is not just a fundraiser, it is an “opportunity to share a little bit of our faith and culture with our Youngstown- area friends.”
Among the volunteers are George Zografides, who has been the doughnut-maker for more than 20 years. The festival is famous for its loukoumathes – deep-fried doughnuts dipped in honey, which Zogafides calls “honey puffs.”
Eugenia Pontikos, a special-education teacher at Youngstown Kirkmere School for 25 years, has also baked for the festival for the same amount of time.
Deanna Vallos of Boardman, a church member, who grew up in St. John’s, explained why she works at the festival.
“This is my upbringing. I like to see people come and enjoy the good food, pastries, Greek music and good drinking,” Vallos said with a laugh.
Foods served outside under a tent include gyros, souvlakia, lamb on pita, saganaki, French fries and calamari.
Among the “Youngstown area friends” Father Constantine mentioned were Eduardo and Amanda Mateo of Poland, a young couple who said they have patronized the festival for about three years.
“We love the food – especially the gyros and baklava,” said Amanda, who noted that they also took a variety of desserts home.