Rain or shine it’s food, entertainment at 37th annual Greek festival

Date:

By PETE FONTAINE

Team Church of the Annunciation, which is made up of approximately 100 parishioners, is ready for the Greek Orthodox parish’s 37th Annual Three-Day Cranston Greek Festival that begins Friday and continues through Sunday at 175 Oaklawn Avenue.

 So, if you like Greek pastry, food and music – as well as extraordinary entertainment – join the countless number of Rhode Islanders and people from neighboring states who’ll attend the family fun foodfest that will be held rain or shine under “Big Tents” that are set up all over the spacious parish grounds.

Although parking will be at a premium on Oaklawn Avenue, additional unlimited space is available at Cranston High School West’s parking lot off Curtis Street that connects with both Phenix Avenue and Cranston Street where free shuttle buses will take people right onto the grounds in front of the beautiful round domed church.

“We invite everyone to come and sample our Greek food and traditions,” said long-serving General Chairman Theofanis “Frank” Markos who shares duties with Evan Andrikos, Tina Liakos, Kostas Dafoulas and Kevin Phelan. “Our visitors can also learn about the Eastern Greek Orthodox Church which is one of the world’s oldest and richest Christian faith traditions in the world with a global following of more than 250 million people.”

Markos said festival goers can take in a church tour that will be held throughout the weekend.

Meanwhile, Paul Pliakas, Annunciations tireless community relations director who among members of Annunciation’s unique “Baking Brigade” that has the pastry shelves well-stocked with a variety of Greek goodies, said: “We invited our guests to sample a variety of Greek food including roast lamb, Greek style chicken, souvlaki (skewered pork or chicken), Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna), spanakopita (spinach pie) and Tiropita (cheese pie).”

As Markos emphasized, “No visit to the festival would be complete with enjoying a gyro.”

Pliakas also added “Our pastry booth will have handmade Greek pastries prepared by teams of our dedicated parishioners including our famous Baklava Galaktoboureko and rice pudding as well as melomakarona (honey cookies).”

The pastry selection includes karidopita (Greek Walnut Cake), kouarbiedes (wedding cookies), koulourakia (Greek butter cookies), and Greek Frappes (Ice coffee).

There will be live Greek music and five appearances by the award-winning Odyssey Dance Troupe under the direction of Dr. Stephen Rougas who along with his wife Tricia spent the recent night of his 14th wedding anniversary baking instead of celebrating with dinner and wine at a restaurant.

Thus, Annunciation Pastor Rev. Andrew George offered: “We pray that the weather will be favorable considering we’ve had a wet summer … after all, in Greece it hardly rains in the summer. I’d like to note that our festival is rooted in the reality that local villages and towns throughout Greece have a festival associated to the feast of their parish church … what they call the PANAYIRI!”

To which Father Nick Lanzourakis added: “It is our joy to host our community for the annual parish festival. We love seeing everyone and it is twice the delight when we have an opportunity to share our faith and culture which is an expression of our Greek Philoxenia (hospitality.”

Admission is FREE and Pliakas said: “for the safety of our guests, pets are not permitted (at the Cranston Greek Festival) but service animals are allowed. We look forward to seeing everyone for three days of fun, food and pastry.”

Festival hours are Friday, Sept. 8, 5 to 10 pm.; Saturday, Sept. 9, 12 noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 10, 12 noon to 8 p.m. For more information please call (401) 942-4188.

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