37th Annual Greek Fest starts Thursday
By William m. mingus III Editor of The News Journal Florence, S.C.
The Greek community has deep roots in the Florence arean and for the past 37 years, our Greek friends have celebrated and shared their culture and food by hosting the Annual Greek Festival.
This year’s four-day celebration of the Greek culture and the Orthodox Christian faith begins on Thursday, May 16, and runs through Sunday, May 19. Everything takes place on the grounds of the Transfiguration of Our Savior Greek Orthodox Church, constructed in 1960, at 2990 S. Cashua Drive.
Festival hours are 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and noon until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Everyone is invited to come enjoy delicious Greek food and stay for the festivities.
Events and programs will include live Greek music and dancing, inflatables, face painting, vendors on the grounds offering women’s clothing, handmade jewelry, wholecloth weaving, homemade soaps and more; and a large variety of Greek food and pastries. The newest edition to the festival this year is the carnival with a ferris wheel, carousel, pony rides, and a petting zoo.
Visitors will be able to tour the ornate Greek Church as well. Times for the tours and lectures will be posted at the entrance of the Church.
The festival menu will feature: chicken riganato (one-half baked chicken), moussaka (Greek style lasagna with eggplant, meat and potatos), souvlaki (grilled seasoned pork tenderloin), and dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) served with red Greek rice, spanakopita, Greek salad and bread. Grilled chicken Greek salad will be offered as well. The outdoor food offerings will include the same items as the indoor menu, in addition to gyros and fries as part of an ala-carte menu. Also, tasty honey puffs will be cooked outdoors.
As always, the ladies of the church have baked a wide selection of Greek pastries to be offered for sale in the Hellenic Center. Their pastries include baklava, kourabea,fenekia, koulourakia, melomakarona, galaktoboureko, chocolate eclairs, as well as homemade sweet bread and loaf breads. These are tough choices to make, so you want to load up on meals and goodies – they all freeze well for future enjoyment.
Lunch and dinner will be offered for dine in or take out, as well as at the drive-thru. Patrons may dine inside the spacious new Hellenic Center or sit outdoors under the huge canopy and enjoy the outdoor entertainment. Festival patrons are asked to pay attention to parking signs and lanes. Cash or credit cards will be accepted during festival hours. Large orders may be called in at (843)-662-5471.
While this is the 37th anniversary year of the festival, baking and sharing the delicious Greek pastries dates back to the 1950s when the ladies in the Greek community began baking them in their own kitchens and selling them in local stores to raise money for their missions and the church.
For more information about the festival or to purchase advanced tickets, please call the church office at 843-662-5471. To view the schedule of events, visit online at www.florencegreekfestival.com.