Food big hit at Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox’s Food & Wine Festival
By William K. Alcorn
The star of the 2018 Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church’s Greek Food & Wine Festival, by acclaim its food, is on display from noon to 10 p.m. today and Monday, the final days of the annual fall event.
The Food & Wine Festival is in the church hall and a wine tent across the street from the church at 401 12th St.
“It’s the food that brings us here,” said visitors Jim and Elaine Kutchel of Austintown, who raved about the lamb dinner and pastitsio, respectively.
Elaine’s favorite dessert is galaktobouriko, which was sold out by midafternoon Saturday. Jim likes the rice pudding topped with cinnamon.
Tony and Kathy Cougras of Poland gave a shout-out to the souvlaki. “Everything is good,” said Tony, originally from Campbell.
“The food at other festivals doesn’t compare to the food here. It’s made from the heart,” said Angelo Kargakos of Campbell, who enjoyed the festival with his wife, Litsa.
Most of the food is made with heart, and hard work, by members of the Ladies’ Society who prepare for the event for months, said Nick Kalouris, parish council president.
The food preparation is overseen by Bill Likouris, former chef at a local Greek restaurant, and former parish council president.
Dishes among the fest- goers’ crowd favorites are fila (grape leaves), lamb dinner, pastitsio, traditional homemade gyros and all the pastries, workers said.
In addition to the food, the festival features youth dance groups; the Greek Emporium run by Evelyn Klimis of Campbell, a booth that sells Greek-made jewelry and other items; and plenty of Greek wine for sale in a large outdoor tent that also featured Greek music by Orkistra Mikrasiatiki from Greenville, N.C.
The festival, which began in 1960 in the church parking lot, has enabled the church of about 600 families to build the community center and complete an 18-month church renovation that the Rev. Father Steve Denas, church priest, said he hopes will be dedicated this fall.
Proceeds from the church’s two festivals, one in the fall and the other in February, go to the church.
All of the 25-30 people who work the festival are volunteers, and they work at least 15 hours per day during the festival, said Kalouris.
Kalouris invited the community to the festival.
“Everybody is welcome to have some good food, some fun and to learn about Greek culture,” he said.