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Keeping tradition alive at Greekfest

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More Information

If you go

When: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday
, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Headwaters Park

Cost: $3, Friday - Saturday 4 - 10 p.m. (for those 16 and older)


Olympic 5K Run: 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Headwaters Park

Live Greek Music by Lazaros: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday - Saturday and Noon - 6 p.m. Sunday

Learn to Greek dance workshop: 3 p.m. Saturday

Greek cooking demonstrations: 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Friday - Saturday
Traditional Greek dance performances by Triada Dancers: 12:30 p.m., 12:45 p.m., and again beginning at 6 p.m. Friday - Saturday. Beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday.

A sampling of the more than 25 different menu choices:

Gyros: $7

Pork/Chicken Souvlaki: $7

Spanakopita: $3

Dolmades: 1/$3 or 2/$5

Baklava: $2.50
Combination Pastries Box: $12

For more information, visit fortwaynegreekfestival.org

Though food is big, it's about more than cuisine

Friday, June 21, 2013 - 8:31 am

Standing for hours at a time, the yia yias scoop, slice and sell the sweet pastries they toiled for weeks to make.

Later on, some of their grandchildren and other youth from Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church perform traditional Greek dances for the audience.

It's all part of Greekfest, a summertime staple in Fort Wayne now in its 33rd year.

Nikos Nakos manned the roasting lamb, turning on the spit. He's a first- generation Greek. He lives just 10 doors down from his mother, Joanna, who was nearby helping visitors at the bakery table.

“We want people to be a Greek for at least one weekend of the year,” Nikos Nakos said. “To truly enjoy life and enjoy music and enjoy our religion, as well.”

His son, Christos, also helped out at the event. Many of the 300 or so families that are a part of Holy Trinity pitch in for the fest in some way or another. Its truly a community event, Nakos, said — one that must be passed onto the next generation.

“We have to have our kids carry on the traditions,” he said. “A lot of recipes are from our yia yias and have been passed down to our wives and sisters and brothers, and will be passed down to our daughters and sons.”

It's a process that's always happening, but one that is amplified as many original founders of the festival pass away, Greekfest 2013 Chairperson Deanna Gountras said.

“I feel like I'm a transition person,” she said. “I'm learning from the old and bringing in the new. I'm trying to get young people to carry on the traditions and learn.”

After all, the festival requires a lot of work. Planning began back in November.

The many hours of organizing, including many hours this week to prepare much of the homemade food, are all in an effort to raise money for the church, and ultimately, the various charitable organizations that it in turn supports.

In particular, the funds are used by the church's chapter of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, made of up women in the church. Past funds have gone toward disaster relief in such places as post-Katrina Louisiana and tornado-stricken Midwestern states.

Gountras, who married into a Greek family, said it's their spirit of hospitality and caring that makes the festival what it is. She shared how in many Greek homes, guests will always be offered food and drink, and oftentimes a lot of it.

“We want people to feel that way when they're here,” she said. “They want you to feel like you're taken care of.”