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Greek Food Fair opens next week at Holy Cross Church June 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.

Forget the long and costly plane ride, South residents can experience a taste of Greece in Mt. Lebanon next week at a popular church fair that has re-created a Greek village that includes Mediterranean-style houses, a three-dimensional, 8-foot high church; even columns to remind one of the doric colossus that is the Parthenon.

“You get the feeling you’re in a Greek village,” said event chairman Jim Spanos, of Mt. Lebanon. All that, plus a sampling of delicious Greek cuisine will be found at the 35th Annual Greek Food Fair at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church on Gilkeson Road.

About 8,000 to 10,000 people are expected to attend, most of them dining outdoors on the veranda, or in the community center. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m, and dinner from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Take-out service is available from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The festival runs Wednesday through June 16.

There will be free parking at the church, and free shuttles from the Galleria, across Gilkeson Road, beginning at 5 p.m. Beer and Greek and domestic wine can also be purchased, as can the fair’s homemade signature drink: an Aegean Margarita. All food is prepared by parishioners, with proceeds supporting church operations and church-sponsored activities.

On June 8, Mr. Spanos and other men will begin making the bechamel, a wine and cream sauce, for the moussaka, which is layers of baked eggplant and seasoned ground beef topped with a cream sauce. It will sell for $5 a serving. Mrs. Spanos estimated there are at least 150 volunteers for the event, the planning of which kicked off in January.

Rolling and shaping dough for koulourakia, or butter cookies, began in April and 487 dozen cookies were made. They will sell for $4 a dozen, and sell out every year. Also on the menu: Greek feta fries, $4 a serving, which are fried potatoes seasoned with oregano and sprinkled with feta cheese and optional lemon. New this year on the veranda is saganaki, or fried kasseri cheese, flamed with brandy for $5. Also new in the tent area will be chicken souvlakia, or skewered chicken breast marinated in lemon, olive oil, and oregano, and served on pita bread for $5.

Besides other favorites such as calamari ($5), chicken oregano dinner ($10) and lamb shank dinner ($11), the event will feature traditional Greek dress, music, and dancing, and a marketplace. Free tours of the Orthodox church architecture on the grounds surrounding the festival will be available.

For the complete menu, visit: www.holycrosspgh.org. For takeout service, call 412-854-6001.

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