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Posted on Tue. Jun. 24, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

Greek Fest is one big party

Greek community shares culture and food, music, dancing and fun

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Greek good time

What: The annual Greek Fest, featuring authentic Greek food, pastries, music and dancing, as well as children's rides and other activities. Proceeds go to organizations within Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church that make charitable donations.

When: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Headwaters Park, Clinton and Superior streets

Cost: $3 each ages 16 and older 4-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and free, all other hours

Information: www.fortwaynegreekfestival.org, Fort Wayne Greek Festival on Facebook and @fwgreekfestival on Twitter

By the numbers

Greek Fest organizers expect more than 10,000 people to attend their event. Here's just a small idea of what they plan to to feed them:

7,200 servings of baklava

375 20-piece "party pans" of baklava for people to buy to take home

130 spanakopita (spinach and feta cheese in phyllo crust)

80 tiropita, (feta cheese in phyllo crust)

150 servings of octopus dinner

3,500 shish kebabs (2,500 chicken, 1,000 pork)

3,000 to 5,000 gyro sandwiches

1,000 servings of boneless leg of lamb

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Save room for dessert. And don't worry about the calories. You can dance them away, whether or not you know anything about Greek-style dancing.

"It is a four-day party. It really is," said Frank Makridakis, chairman of this year's Greek Fest this Thursday through Sunday at Headwaters Park.

This will be the 34th year Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 110 E. Wallen Road, has organized the festival.

The goal is to share members' Greek culture with the community and to have fun, Makridakis said. Any proceeds go to organizations within in the church that make donations to charities.

"It really is a whole church effort," he said of the congregation's approximately 150 families. They also have a lot of help from local volunteers from outside the Greek community.

Food is one of the stars of the festival, especially the dessert pastries. All of it is handmade by congregation members using only the best ingredients, Makridakis said.

If you want to check out the options before going, the Greek Fest website, www.fortwaynegreekfestival.org, lists 10 different pastry and 14 meal choices.

Baklava, karidopita, melomakarona, paximadia, loukoumades — don't worry if you can't pronounce it. They're all good, Makridakis said. And if you have a sweet tooth, your taste buds are in for a trip.

You also can enjoy a variety of other Greek main dishes, such as chicken or pork shish kebabs, gyro sandwiches, boneless leg of lamb, pastichio (Greek lasagna) and one of Makridakis' favorites, loukaniko, a Greek sausage.

Back by "popular demand," Makridakis said, will be the octopus dinner.

Octopi 2 to 4 pounds in size will be seasoned and grilled Greek-style over an open fire, he said. The meat then will be chopped into 1-inch pieces and a 6- to 8-ounce portion will be served over a bed of rice, with a roll on the side.

"It should be very delicious," he added.

For those not tempted by food, Greek Fest also is a great family event, Makridakis said.

Children can enjoy amusement rides, and Sweetcakes the Clown will offer face painting, caricatures and balloon animals.

The band Lazaros from Cincinnati will get people up and dancing each day and evening.

"Anybody really can dance," Makridakis said. "Anybody. Trust me."

Near the end of each evening, 100 to 200 people typically are dancing Greek-style in circles, he said.

Local Greek youth dance groups will perform at 12:30 and 12:45 p.m. daily. Four different local Greek dance groups will perform each evening, beginning at 6 p.m.

"It's a great time," Makridakis said.

kkilbane@news-sentinel.com


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