Food is big draw for event

WARREN – A group of women and men spent Monday and Tuesday and continue today preparing the food for the annual St. Demetrios Greek Festival, Cindy Lambis, festival spokeswoman, said.

”The homemade food is a big draw for our festival,” Lambis said.

Lamb, pastries and gyros are among the popular food items at the festival, which begins today and continues through Sunday at the center and grounds off Atlantic Street. The festival is the major annual fundraiser for the parish.

Lambis said one pastry item that is very popular is the baklava, which is rich-tasting pastry with nut filling and honey.

Arlene DiCesare, pastry chairwoman, said there are so many pastries to choose from that a pastry sampler is provided.

”We put one of each pastry on the sampler which is in a clear plastic container. This gives you a little taste of all of our pastries,” she said.

While the women were busy preparing the pastries, several men were helping to cut the meat in the kitchen.

Lambis said the calamari, which is squid, is very popular.

DiCesare said the Greek style shish kabob is also popular which was started a few years ago.

George Pahoulis of Howland who was spending time cutting the meat, said his secret to keeping the meat tasting good is to leave a little fat.

”The fat gives the meat a little more flavor or it will taste a little dry,” he said.

Among the food preparers were Maria Ashiolas and Carrie Kaupiaris, both of Warren, who have been helping for many years.

”’I enjoy working with everyone each year. We have a good team of hard workers,” Kaupiaris said.

Ashiolas said it is fun to prepare the food and hear how so many people enjoy it.

Lambis said in addition to the food, the Greek bands and Greek folk dancers provide nightly entertainment.

”We showcase the Greek culture. Many people schedule their vacations from work around the festival,” she said.

Lambis said one comment she hears each year from those who attend the festival is the hospitality.

”That’s the number one comment we receive is the hospitality. We want people who come here to feel at home just as if they were eating dinner at a Greek family’s home,” she said.