POCATELLO, ID – Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, 518 North 5th Avenue in Pocatello, hosts its Greek Festival on Saturday, August 21, 11 AM-7 PM. The annual event draws crowds every year, but had been canceled last year due to the pandemic. This year, the festival is back with all the Greek food, music and dance that have made the celebration a staple in the wider community.
Assumption’s presiding priest Fr. Constantine A. Zozos told the East Idaho News (EIN) that “it’s a delightful family affair, it really is. I know many people were disappointed, as we were disappointed, that we could not have it last year. This, I think, is going to be better than ever.”
Though the event began as a fundraiser for the church, over the years it became a larger “cultural event,” EIN reported, adding that “this year, the event will showcase a Greek ethnic dancing troupe and Greek music, which will be playing throughout the festival.”
Festival admission is free and “the fundraising comes through the sale of food,” EIN reported, noting that “a wide variety of Greek food will be available for purchase” including “spit-roasted lamb, Greek sausage made special for the event by a company in Salt Lake City, and gyros as sandwiches or salads.”
“The food is delicious,” Fr. Zozos told EIN, adding that “the roasted lamb on the spit outside — unbelievable. I would say that this is the best Greek food in Idaho. I can say that.”
A historic photo of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Pocatello, Idaho. The community was founded in 1915. Photo: Facebook
“Traditional desserts, like baklava, will also be available, even in non-traditional presentations, like baklava sundaes,” EIN reported, noting that “all the food is made in the church’s kitchen, by church parishioners, then served by local ‘VIPs,’ as Fr. Zozos called them… Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad and Police Chief Roger Schei are among the servers, as are representatives from Phil Meador Toyota and Cole Chevrolet.”
Fr. Zozos told EIN “don’t be afraid of the line… We have two food lines and we get people through as fast as we can.”
He added that the festival, “is the largest ethnic festival in southeast Idaho, and serves as the city’s last big celebration of the summer,” EIN reported, noting that the funds raised at the festival “will go to help local organizations and to further preserve and maintain the 106-year-old church, one of the oldest buildings in Pocatello and the fourth-oldest Greek Orthodox sanctuary in the United States.”
“This is something people really look forward to, and we’re excited it’s back this year after not happening last year,” Fr. Zozos told EIN.
More information is available online: https://www.assumptionpocatello.net/about-3.