By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
Come out for “A Taste of Greece” at the 14th annual Greek Food Festival hosted by the St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Summit Park in Clarksburg this weekend. Located at 1010 Factory Street, the church will host its guests for two days of nine-hours-long eating extravaganzas from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13. Those attending can feast on traditional authentic, homemade Greek delicacies.
“Come and eat at any time,” said Steve Sellas, festival chairman. “The food will be ready at all those times. Everyone can come at their leisure.”
For just $14 each, guests have a choice of one entree from several menu items, two side dishes – Greek-style green beans and rice pilaf – a salad, roll and a drink.
Stellas said you’ll get your money’s worth. “They’re big portions,” he exclaimed, grinning.
Stellas said his favorite entree is the oven-baked leg of lamb with garlic, oregano and other Greek spices.
The choice will be difficult with four other main dishes from which to choose: chicken baked with a garlic and lemon sauce; plaki – cod baked in a special Greek-style tomato-based sauce; pastitsio – a “Greek lasagna” with layers of ziti, cheese, spiced ground beef and covered with a Béchamel sauce; and moussaka – a baked casserole of eggplant, spiced ground beef and potatoes topped with Béchamel sauce.
People will be able to purchase other sides a la carte, such as spanakopita – a phyllo dough and spinach pie, Feta cheese pies and grape leaves stuffed with spiced rice.
Delectable famous Greek desserts will also be on sale. Baklava, a dessert of crispy, buttered layered phyllo dough, ground walnuts and a honey-based syrup, is a top favorite, Stellas said. Other pastries include kataifi (shredded wheat rolls laced with a walnut, sugar and cinnamon mixture, topped with syrup) and three types of butter cookies.
Sellas believes the festival is an opportunity for people to expand their culinary horizons.
“People can come and enjoy the great food and experience a taste that is a different experience for them,” he stated. “It’s not something they can enjoy on a regular basis …real homemade Greek food.”
If people want to try their hand at creating some of their own Greek-style dishes, they can purchase cooking items at the festival’s Market Place. Stellas reported they will have imported cooking items, such as Greek olive oils and spices for sale. Imported candy bars will also be in stock.
But food isn’t the only thing on the menu and mind, Stellas explained. Guests, if they want, can learn more about the Greek Orthodox Christian faith and St. Spyridon, too. Father John Kospas, the church’s priest, will be on hand to give church tours and answer any questions guests may have. So, though the festival itself is not a religious observance or tradition, it can be chance to get a brief tutorial about the Greek Orthodox faith.
“While this is, specifically, an ethnic celebration, we do welcome people to visit here at our church and learn more about our religion,” Stellas stated.
A Facebook fan said she will definitely be there this weekend. “[I’m] looking forward to delicious food and great company,” wrote Michelle Brubaker Duez.
For more than a decade this has been a popular event with hundreds visiting each year to sample the unique Greek cuisine. If you want more information about the festival or the church, call (304) 624-5331; or visit stspyridon.wv.goarch.org or their Facebook page – “St. Spyridon WV.”
Proceeds from the festival go to the church directly and to many of the charitable organizations, both local and national, the church supports, such as the Clarksburg Mission and Ronald McDonald House. “We give to organizations that help the underprivileged and those that help people through hard times,” Stellas concluded.