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The Annual Grecian Food Festival at St. John the Divine Church Is the Place to Get One

Photo Provided Dressed in traditional garb, skillfully trained dancers are shown at the annual Grecian Food Festival at St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church in Center Wheeling. This year’s event is set for July 25-28.

WHEELING — The tradition of church festivals in the Ohio Valley is alive and well, especially in Center Wheeling where the 18th annual Grecian Food Festival at St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church, 2215 Chapline St. gets underway on Wednesday, July 25 and runs through Saturday, July 28.

Each day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., a portion of Chapline Street is blocked off and transformed into a festival of delicious, fresh-cooked and baked foods, Greek dancers and music, shopping and more.

The noon hour is a popular time for workers in town and in Center Wheeling looking for a quick, delicious lunch.

Under the direction of presiding priest, the Rev. Demetrios Tsikouris, the rich heritage of the Greek community and its commitment to faith are spotlighted during the event.

“It is our hope that you all have a wonderful experience at our annual food festival, and that you will enjoy the various virtues that shine through our parish community at such an event: our zeal for the gift of life, our love of fellowship and our hospitality to our neighbors,” Tsikouris said.

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 you.

The festive outdoor setting allows you to enjoy a fresh gyro, tavern fries, wings or chicken kabob. The youth of the Greek church community prepare golden fried honey puffs, lemonade and baklava sundaes by day and by night.

Starting at 6 p.m., the Agape dance troop performs 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, over eight full dinner entrees are available in the air-conditioned Hellenic Center Hall. The choices are Grecian chicken, sausage, lamb, twice marinated and grilled pork kabobs and baked fish. Also available is an ala-carte menu and a wide selection of homemade delicious Greek pastries. Flavorful food items, only authentic to the Greek culture, are being offered.

This year, for the third year, there will be Greek Food cooking classes titled “Fun with Fillo” at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the Hellenic Center Balcony. Imported olive oils, Greek gifts, art and jewelry, with a selection of beautiful imported gold and silver jewelry, also will allow guests to bring home a piece of Greece.

Officials said, however, their greatest desire is to share the beauty of the Orthodox Christian faith with everyone who visits the festival.

“When you visit the food festival, please consider learning more about the Orthodox Christian Church by visiting our bookstore, participating in one of our church tours, listening-in on one of our liturgical chant demonstrations, and, of course, conversing with Fr. Demetrios if you have any questions,” officials said.

The sanctuary will be open during festival hours and will be conducting guided tours at designated times.

Go online and browse www.grecianfest.com for more information or to download a menu or order food for take out. If you click on the contact tab and complete the information form, you will get a free Greek pastry. Call in or fax your order: 304-232-4976 (GYRO).

There is plenty of free parking available on Chapline Street and at the nearby Center Wheeling Parking Garage.

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