Umbrellas, gyros found at fest

WARREN – Danielle Marvin said it would take more than a little rain to stop her from going to one of her favorite festivals. In fact, she said, not even a torrential downpour or thunderstorm could do it.

Marvin, 34, and Darren Stockton, 31, both of Chardon, and other residents battled the dreary weather Saturday for the 46th annual St. Demetrios Greek Festival in Warren.

“I grew up around here. You gotta have the gyros. Gotta come for the food,” Marvin said with a smile as the pair waited for their lemon shakes to be made.

Although most people showed up sporting umbrellas, the festival was already prepared for the wet forecast: A large tent in the middle provided shelter for the band as well as people enjoying the Greek cuisine.

Volunteer Bee Keriotis said it is the first year the dancers will perform under a tent. In the past, the dance would have been canceled in the event of inclement weather.

Zachariah Johnson, 19, of Masury, who was manning the shake stand owned by Premium Shows of America, said he wasn’t worried about the rain keeping folks away.

“Business has been great, especially here at the lemon stand. There’s a lot of customers, everybody’s satisfied. It’s really nice to see a smile on everybody’s face,” he said.

Across the lot, meat for the famous gyros was being prepared. Sean Angelis, 41, of Columbus and formerly of Warren, said they sold 1,750 gyros on Wednesday, but Friday night was by far their best night – they served around 2,500.

“It was kinda hectic,” Jimmy Kopelos said.

Volunteer Connie Kappas, who was busy selling raffle tickets for a trip to Greece or a Caribbean cruise for two, said Friday night was a record-breaking night.

“You couldn’t even move. All the years I’ve come, I’ve never ever seen it that crowded. I have claustrophobia, and I stayed seated,” she said.

Kappas said although the Saturday night showers might slow the crowd a little, she didn’t think it would keep many people away.

The festival is the major annual fundraiser for the parish. It concludes today from 4 to 10 p.m. with the dining room opening at 1 p.m. at St. Demetrios Center and grounds, 3223 Atlantic St. N.E., Warren. Admission is free. The event includes Greek food, ethnic music, dancing, games and rides.