OA: Greek Festival returns after missing a year, popular event is back
They got phone calls ... oh, the phone calls.
What happened to the Greek Festival? What happened to the baklava and the dancers, the fun and the games?
Last year, the necessary funds weren’t there to put on the popular festival, but the Greek Festival at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church is back on Saturday, Sept. 27.
The church even renovated its kitchen. A halo almost shines above the commercial dishwasher.
The festival has Greek food, baked goodies, performances by the Dionysus Dancers from Salt Lake City and games for children, such as the Olympic rings bean bag toss.
This year, a portion of proceeds from the festival benefit Grand Valley Catholic Outreach and Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado.
For weeks, “the ladies” (the affectionate term for a select group of church women in their 70s) have been cooking up a storm.
They show up at the church early in the morning, chit chat, and in an assembly line they bake and bake and bake.
Silver shelving units from Sam’s Club line the walls and are stacked with trays crammed with 1,500 of each cookie: baklava, kourambiethes and koulourakia.
They made 75 jars of a simple syrup/honey mixture to pour over the baklava.
Last week, nobody in the church kitchen really knew where the recipes for the traditional Greek food came from.
But they are the same recipes “the ladies” have always used, a grandmother’s grandmother’s recipe.
One recent afternoon, the cooks were preparing the green beans for the festival.
“It smells so good over there,” said Georgann Jouflas, motioning toward the stove top. “Nothing like cooking butter.”
Jouflas said her sister-in-law calls oregano, lemon juice and olive oil the “holy trinity of Greek cooking.”
“Pretty much everything has one of those (ingredients) in it,” Jouflas said.
Jouflas insisted that Greek food is healthy.
“The Mediterranean diet, it’s good for you,” she said. “Everyone I know loves Greek food.”