WHEELING – Parishioners at St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church in Wheeling will welcome the community to their 20th annual Greek Food Festival July 28-31.
The popular community festival celebrating Greek heritage and delicious food will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. that week from Wednesday to Saturday.
The authentic food, the electric atmosphere and the infectious hospitality make this festival an event not to be missed. Festival organizers said there is something for everyone to enjoy, and parishioners look forward to sharing their faith, food and fun with everyone.
“We hope you all have a wonderful experience at our annual food festival and appreciate the various virtues that shine through our parish community at such an event – our zeal for the gift of life, our love of brotherhood and our hospitality to our neighbors ”, Gus Kayafas, director of the festival, said.
The festive outdoor setting on Rue Chapline allows visitors to sample a fresh gyroscope, tavern fries, chicken wings or skewers.
Young people from the local Greek community make fried golden honey puffs, lemonade and baklava sundaes day and night. Agape Dancers will perform the exciting and colorful dances from various parts of Greece daily to live authentic Greek music provided by an Ohio Valley favorite, “The Greek Company”.
In addition to the outdoor activities, available upstairs in our Hellenic Center Hall, there will be a variety of festival favorites such as pastitsio, moussaka, spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves and Greek village salad, as well as a wide choice of delicious homemade Greek pastries. Tasty food – only authentic in Greek culture – is offered.
Vendors will also be on site, allowing guests to take home a piece of Greece.
“Our greatest desire is to share the beauty of our Orthodox Christian faith with each of you”, Kayafas said. “When you visit the Food Festival, consider learning more about the Orthodox Christian Church by visiting our bookstore, participating in one of our church tours, listening to one of our liturgical chanting demonstrations and , of course, by chatting with the father. Demetrios if you have any questions.
The shrine will be open at designated times during the festival for guided tours.
Back this year are the popular “Have fun with Fillo” cooking demonstrations. Maria Kayafas will present three days at 2 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday July 29-31, on the balcony. This year, Maria will show visitors how to make bougatsa. This is a traditional and very popular Greek dessert made with the creamiest custard wrapped in golden crispy phyllo dough, dusted with melted butter and topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon. It is “simply extraordinary,” she said.
“Among Greek culture there is a tradition of philotimo, the love of doing good for people”, said Maria Kayafas. “It shows in our kitchen, our desire to show hospitality to guests, neighbors and family as we eagerly prepare Greek dishes to share our love for others. It’s just another way to share our culture.
New this year is a Kafenio, a Greek café.
“We are delighted to bring something new to the festival”, said Danyelle Dunlevy, 17. “We were brainstorming ideas and thought that the Frappé, Baklava Cheesecake and Ladopsomo Fried Bread were the items people would love as much as we do. “
For 2021, take-out and take-out will be in person, without pre-orders in the upstairs dining room. The food will be packaged to take home or to enjoy in one of the outdoor dining tents.
The festival will take place in the historic Center Market area and plenty of free parking will be available on Chapline Street and at the Center Wheeling Parking Garage.
Follow the festival on Facebook on “Greek feast” for the latest updates and news, or go online and browse www.grecianfest.com for more information or to download a menu.
Call 304-233-0757 for any additional information.