CANTON The 42nd annual Grecian Festival hosted by the Holy Trinity Church of Canton was just gearing up inside the Canton Civic Center early afternoon on Aug. 16. The festival attracts thousands of Stark Countians and people from surrounding counties every year during the three days of food, fun and lots of Greek culture.
It started with the food. All of it including the many desserts is homemade by the church members. There is a Taverna menu for indoor dining and a menu for an outdoor terrace and drive-thru menu.
Many favorites were available throughout the festival including roasted pork, chicken, gyros, Greek salads, souvlaki (shish kabobs), fish and three types of lamb, on the spit, lamb chops and lamb shanks. Desserts are also popular. The melomakarono (honey dipped cookie), Baklava (walnuts in filo dough) and galaktoboureko (custard in filo dough with honey on top) are some of the top sellers.
This year’s co-chairs include Larry Anastas, Bill Zantopulos and Dino Costi.
"All of the food and desserts are made by members of the church, plus most of the vendors selling items in the lobby," Costi said. "All of the proceeds go to the church every year. The event has been successful because we have a strong following. In addition to all the people we serve inside, people will come through the drive-thru and make large orders."
Costi said the church holds the event because they want to share the Greek culture, food, music and fun. Father Dan Rogich, who has been with the Holy Trinity Church for 15 years, said the commitment and dedication of the volunteers from the church also contributes to the success.
"This event is filled with the Greek spirit of joy, love, food and family." Rogich said. "Many of the recipes have been passed down from grandmother to daughter to granddaughter. It is truly a labor of love from the members of the church. This is one of the largest venues for a Greek festival, many hold their festivals at their church."
One of the big draws over the past several years is the outdoor terrace and drive-thru. For those who want to enjoy the food but may not have time to visit the festival, the drive-thru makes it easy.
People in the area can pull up to an ordering station at the entrance of the Civic Center and place an order. The food is prepared fresh every day and when an order is complete, a runner delivers it right to the car.
In addition to the food, there was plenty of entertainment. There were several dance troupes scheduled throughout the three days. A Greek band played live on Saturday. And, a special event was added this year. A comedy show with Basile was held on Saturday evening.
"A new generation is taking over the festival," said Publicity chair Dina Kalagidis. "Our parents started the event in 1976 when I was a kid and now family members of my age have taken over setting the festival up and running it. The festival has been a longtime favorite and a tradition in Canton."