Friday, May 25, 2018
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Opa! Greek festival offers 3 days of food, fun, music


Niki Holland of Toledo serves up pastries at the 43rd annual Greek-American Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral downtown. ‘I really love [the festival]. It's my first year here,’ Ms. Holland said.

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Riley Newell of Point Place was fidgeting but the adults were in no hurry to leave the table.

“We've just enjoyed a delicious meal,” said Tina Garcia, 44, also of Point Place. “We had a pastichio, which was amazing. The cream sauce that they use is to die for.” Riley, who is 3 and who wanted “to go to the bouncies,” was going to have to wait anyway, because the children's attractions were to open later, Ms. Garcia said.

Ms. Garcia and her granddaughter were among hundreds of visitors who attended the 43rd annual Greek-American Festival held at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 740 North Superior St., on Friday, the day it opened. The program officially kicked off with the blessing of the cathedral and festival grounds by the Rev. Aristotle Damaskos, dean of the cathedral, and the Rev. Chris Hadgigeorge, pastor emeritus.

Sitting across from the girl and her grandmother were John Ziegelhofer, 22, of West Toledo, a University of Toledo senior majoring in accounting, and his girlfriend Megan Root, 21, of Point Place, a UT sophomore majoring in business.

Ms. Root said that she loved the spinach pie, which she cooks occasionally, and that she was planning on attending a cooking demonstration at the festival later in the day to get some cooking tips.

If you go

■ What: 43rd annual Greek-American Festival

■ Where: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 740 North Superior St.

■ When: Noon to midnight today and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday

■ Admission: Today, $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under when accompanied by a parent or guardian; Sunday, $2 for adults and free forchildren.

Mr. Ziegelhofer, besides enjoying the food, said he appreciated the event's general atmosphere, which he described as friendly and upbeat.

“I feel everybody here is starting out on a good note for the weekend,” he said, speaking over the sounds of Greek music.

While some visitors Friday sat at tables, having their meals, others milled around vendor booths with displays of costume jewelry, T-shirts, paintings, and souvenirs. There was also a booth with religious jewelry, which is new this year.

Among the busiest places on the grounds was the coffee shop, or “kafenion,” where American and Greek coffee was served, along with numerous pastries such as baklava, diples, galaktobouriko, kourambiethes, koulourakia, and macaroons, as well as loukoumathes and baklava ice cream.

Food at the festival also included moussaka, spanakopita, tiropitas, and dolmathes, rice pilaf, pastichio, pork souvlaki, shish kabob, and chicken oregano. There was also Greek salad, rice pudding, lamb shank, gyros, Greek pizza, and saganaki, or flaming cheese.

For those interested in tips on cooking Greek food, there was a demonstration of how to prepare pastichio (Greek lasagna). Preparation of stuffed eggplant dolmathes (grape leaves) and working with phyllo and preparing different fillings was to be demonstrated today and Sunday respectively.

There was also a lecture, titled “Mythbusters: Greek Myths Explored.” A lecture “on Modern Greek Made Easy” is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. today and another on “The Greek Origins of Medical Ethics” at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Entertainment at the festival is by Hellenic Dance Co.

Additionally, Olympus Band of Cleveland provides Greek and American music today. On Sunday, the musical entertainment will be by Mythos Band from Windsor.

There is also entertainment for children such as rides, face painting, and ice cream.

Contact Mike Sigov at:, 419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.

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