CLARKSBURG, W. Va. – The smell of Greek food and the sounds of traditional Greek music filled the air around the Summit Park area of Clarksburg Friday and Saturday for the 13th Annual St. Spyridon Greek Food Festival.
“It’s a way of generating revenue, sharing the Greek heritage and showing what we can do within the community,” Steve Sellas, festival chairman said.
The members and volunteers at the St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church, which plays host to the event, felt the best way to share the culture was through their food.
The community enjoyed entrees such as chicken prepared in a traditional way with oregano and lemon, plaki fish–a cod with tomato sauce and vegetables–and a Greek style of pasta called pastitsio.
However, there is one food which could be considered a cornerstone of the heritage.
“Our lamb,” Sellas said. “Greeks are known for lamb. We roast it, we don’t have whole lamb but we cook legs of lamb.”
Some only come for the desserts like kourabiethes and baklava, which makes it hard to keep an accurate tally of how many will come through the festival. Helping people learn about the history of the culture and how it carries on today, Sellas said, is more important than the numbers.
The event is put on with the help of volunteers and family members coming in to help staff the weekend but Sellas said preparations begin months before.
“We start in January, typically every year, to start cooking foods and freezing them. It’s really for the fellowship within the community which is a thing we like to do.”
Another reason the event is put on is to provide information about the Greek Orthodox Church, mainly dispelling the misconception one has to be Greek to be a member. Sellas said the doors are open to everyone.
“We just want every one to enjoy themselves,” Sellas said. “We hope they like the food, the hospitality we have here.”