DEWITT, N.Y. (NCC News) — Greek Fest at Saint Sophia’s Church in DeWitt is back for a 50th season. This year’s event comes in the midst of a week when air quality readings got to dangerous levels. A number of events in Central New York were either cancelled or postponed as a result.
Peter Manolakos, one of the people responsible for organizing Greek Fest, said that postponing an event like this would be difficult to do, for a host of reasons.
“This is a crucial event for the finances of the church, and the people come in and they see the tent up and that’s great, and some people start working you know, early this week, some last week, but some of us have been working since January,” said Manolakos.
The purchasing of perishable food far in advance, the financial implications of the event, and the commitments made by volunteers are the main reasons why Manolakos says the festival will carry on.
To those in the community, Greek Fest means a lot.
“The people who come here, the people who know about it, they really look forward to it,” said Manolakos. “I mean, it’s really a part of their beginning of summer scenario.”
To honor the 50th year of the festival, a special ceremony will be held to honor those who have chaired the event in the past, or their descendants. The current chair, Peter Lemoniades, says that 50 years is a big deal.
“Well, the 50th year is very important to us,” said Lemoniades. “We started back in 1973 when this church opened, we’re happy to be here for 50 years.”
Vendors, food, and live music can be found in abundance during the festival, which celebrates Greek culture and heritage.
“It truly is a community building event,” said Manolakos. “I mean, you get to know people that you don’t know.”