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Opaa! It’s Greek Food Festival time May 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.

The food treats at the special Spring Greek Food Fest today and Friday will be similar to the annual summer and fall food fests of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, but this one will have a special cause.

While proceeds from the annual food fests go to charity, all profits from this event will help build the new church, which is under construction on O’Plaine Road south of I-94 in Waukegan. Parishioners plan to move this fall.

The new church will feature a 65-foot tall golden dome of traditional Byzantine design, and a nine-foot cross. “The church will be seen from both directions on the tollway,” said Frank Karagianis, co-chairman of the fund-raising committee, “It will look fantastic.”

The new church will cost approximately $6.6 million and encompass approximately 9,000 square feet, seating 500. Alongside the church will be a 5,000-square-foot fellowship hall which will include an 800-square-foot kitchen and an open area of 3,000 square feet which can seat 200 or be divided for classrooms.

The kitchen, more than three times larger than old one, will be outfitted with like-new equipment donated by parishioners Richard and Ioanna (Dracos) Parrillo, who recently closed a restaurant.

The church, which has been in Waukegan since 1929 and at the current site since 1959, has 235 families. “With a more centralized location, we expect growth,” Karagianis said. Typically, churches experience 10 percent growth after new buildings are completed, he added. Foundations are complete and steel will arrive soon.

Karagianis is encouraging parishioners to make five-year commitments for donations, and is helping organize a series of fund-raising events such as the food fest. “It is a nice way to work with the community.” “It will be a whole church effort,” said Rene Kallianis. The Philotopchos Society will pay for the iconography painted inside the dome, a traditional image of angels opening up the way to heaven and Christ. The project is “not only to build a bigger church, but to help the community and fill our spiritual needs,” she said. Karagianis said, “We’re getting together for a common goal, all generations, men and women.”

Some 50 altar boys work for the cause, selling candy and running the parking lot for Gurnee Days, where they earned $1,000 last year. They wear shirts with the church emblem on front and, on the back, lettering “I work for God.”

Greek Food Festival > The fest will be held at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 10-11, 1217 North Ave., Waukegan.
Available will be roast lamb, Athenian chicken and gyro dinners. and a la carte items including pastitsio, dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice, topped with lemon sauce), tiropita (cheese puffs), spanakopita (spinach puffs), gyro sandwiches, and Greek salads.
Pastries will include baklava (delicate phyllo filled with walnut mix and drenched with honey), galaktoboureko (phyllo filled with custard and drenched with honey), kourabiethes (butter cookies with chopped almonds), and melomakarona (spice cookie with walnuts, dipped in honey).
Diners can eat in the church hall or carry out. To order in advance, call (847) 623-0190.

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