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St. John the Divine Annual Grecian Food Festival Brings Community Together Through Culture

WHEELING — The parishioners of St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church this week will welcome everyone to their 21st annual Grecian Food Festival in Center Wheeling.

The festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, July 27-30.

“It is our hope that our guests have a wonderful experience at our food festival, and we are eager to share our zeal for the gift of life, love of fellowship and hospitality with them,” said Gus Kayafas, festival director.

The authentic food, electric atmosphere and the contagious hospitality makes this one festival you do not want to miss this summer.

There is something for everyone to enjoy, and the parishioners cannot wait to share their faith, food and fun with everyone.

The festive outdoor setting allows visitors to enjoy the famous gyro sandwiches, tavern fries, wings or chicken kabob.

A flaming, aged cheese called saganaki will be served daily after 4 p.m.

The youth of the community prepare golden fried honey puffs, lemonade and baklava sundaes by day and by night.

The Agape Dancers will perform daily the exciting and colorful dances from various regions of Greece to live authentic Greek music provided by an Ohio Valley favorite, The Greek Company.

In addition to outdoor activities, available upstairs in the Hellenic Center Hall, there will be a variety of festival favorites such as pastitsio, moussaka, spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves and greek village salad, along with a plentiful selection of homemade delicious Greek pastries. Flavorful food items, only authentic to the Greek culture, are being offered. Vendors will also be on hand which will allow guests to bring home a piece of Greece.

However, the parishioners’ greatest desire is to share the beauty of the Orthodox Christian faith with everyone.

When visiting the food festival, 0consider learning more about the Orthodox Christian Church by visiting the bookstore, participating in one of the church tours, listening in on one of the liturgical chant demonstrations, and of course, conversing with Fr. Demetrios if anyone has questions about the ancient faith.

The sanctuary will be open at noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. daily during the festival.

New at the taverna this year is a delicious new item, a “mezze” (appetizer in Greek), of chopped gyro meat, sauteed on the grill with peppers, onions and feta cheese and served with fried pita triangles.

Back again this year are the popular “Fun with Fillo” cooking demonstrations. Maria Kayafas will be presenting on three days at 2 p.m. — Wednesday through Friday, July 27-29, in the second floor educational center.

Maria will show you how to make Kataifi. This is a traditional, and very popular, Greek dessert made with shredded fillo wrapped around a sweet almond and walnut mix and soaked in a buttery syrup … it’s simply amazing!

“Among the Greek culture, there is a tradition of philotimo, the love of doing good for people,” said Maria Kayafas. “This comes across in our cooking, our desire to show hospitality to guests, neighbors, and family as we eagerly prepare Greek dishes to share our love for others. It’s just another way to share our culture.”

Our popular Kafenio, a Greek coffee house, returns this year with anticipated fanfare.

Eighteen-year-old Danyelle Dunlevy shared her enthusiasm.

“We are excited to bring back this year a festival favorite introduced last year,” she said. “You don’t want to miss the kafenio for an iced frappé, baklava cheesecake and ladopsomo, a sweetened fried bread.”

Again for this year, all food sales will be in-person, with no pre-orders in the upstairs Hellenic Center. Food can be packaged by the team of friendly volunteers to take home or enjoy in one of the outdoor dining tents.

Follow on Facebook at Grecian Fest 2022 for the latest updates and news, or go online and browse www.grecianfest.com for more information or to download a menu. Call 304-233-0757 with any questions.

The festival is located within the Centre Market Historic District, and there will be plenty of free parking available on Chapline Street and in the lots across from the church.

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