The next three days will be “extremely important” to the financial health of the Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church.
Today, Saturday and Sunday the church will host its 48th annual Greek Fest, and the goal is to raise $25,000, or about 25 percent of the church’s annual operating budget, said Niki Nestor McNeely, co-chair.
To be successful, she said, the Greek Fest relies on member volunteers, relatives of the congregation and representatives from Greek churches in surrounding communities. She said family members from Florida, Washington, D.C., Missouri and Canada will be in Middletown this weekend to assist with operating the Greek Fest.
“Family has always been important,” Nestor McNeely said. “We are proud our of heritage, our culture, and we like to share it with others.”
The Greek Fest reached out to the Greek community after Telly Jones, 54, the chef at the event for several years, passed away a few months ago, said Georgia Comminos. She sent letters around, asking for assistance in the kitchen.
“We have people who can cook, just no one who can work that long and that hard,” she said.
She said George Kalemanis from the Holy Trinity St. Nicholas Church in Cincinnati volunteered to serve as chef and bring several volunteers.
Nestor McNeely said patrons can enjoy Greek specialties at the popular food court or inside the church hall where a special meal from the Grecian dinner menu will be served. The pastry house will be well-stocked with hand-made Greek specialties, she said. Pastry orders can be made ahead of time by calling 513-424-6521.
She was asked about those who make all the Greek pastries. Nestor McNeely laughed and said only two of the women were younger than 70.
“They ache, they hurt, but they come,” she said.
Live Greek music will be provided throughout the weekend by Dayton’s George Karras and Themi Kakias, who will accompany dance troupes from Middletown and Dayton performing traditional Greek dances, she said.
She said there will be children’s activities, vendors selling authentic Greek jewelry and other imports, and church tours. A glass blower from Lebanon, Twinkle of Light, will be a new vendor this year, she said. Some of the other vendors are from Columbus, Chicago, and Florida, she said.
Raffle drawings for cash and golf vacations will be held at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 each or six for $25.
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