STEUBENVILLE - It's that delicious time of the year again.
The 26th-annual Grecian Food Festival at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church kicked off on Tuesday on South Forth Street and transformed the area into a "Greek celebration."
Festival Chairman John Scavdis said a variety of authentic Grecian food is available at the festival that runs through Friday night. The fare includes plaki, lamb stew, souzoukakia, loukaniko, mousasaka, Greek salad, gyros and of course pastries like baklava, diples and more.
FESTIVAL OPENS — Anthony Mougianis, left, parish council president of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Steubenville, and John Scavdis, Grecian Food Festival chairman, on Tuesday prepared to serve one of the many pastries available at the festival to local residents. The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Friday.
-- Jeremy Kins
"We have the inside of the church full of dinners and 14 different types of cookies, and our grape leaves are fabulous," said Scavdis.
He said carry-out orders are available and can be placed by calling (740) 282-7770.
The festivities don't end inside the church either, as outdoor tents are spread down South Street and feature a taverna, food and drink as well the Greek Company, which will perform every night from 5:30 p.m. until close, around 9 p.m.
Scavdis said the outdoor gyro stand and taverna will likely be open later than the rest of the festival.
Throughout the week the stage also will host the dance groups Starlets, Junior Grecian Stars and Grecian Stars, which are made up of children from the parish.
"It's like a homecoming. We're bringing the Greek tradition to downtown. This is an event people look forward to," said Scavdis.
Parish Council President Anthony Mougianis agreed.
"This (festival) has become quite an Ohio Valley tradition," said Mougianis.
He said they have been preparing for the festival since January, and he noted all food is homemade.
"We're one of the only festivals in America that still does that," said Mougianis.
He also said this year the event holds some extra meaning for the church.
"We've lost 17 members of the parish in the past 20 months.
"Our forces have gone down, but the effort has stayed the same. So it's special this year because we've lost so many that were so close," said Mougianis.
More than anything, he said the festival is a way to share their culture with the local community.
"It's a little taste of Greece for a few days," said Mougianis.
Parking for the event is free, and souvenirs will be on sale during the event.
The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Friday.
(Kins can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed via his @jkinsHS Twitter account.)