GR US

Ode to the Joy of Greek Food Festival in Little, Rock Arkansas

Αssociated Press

(Daniel J. van Ackere/America's Test Kitchen via AP, File)

Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette Senior Editor Rex Nelson travels the state to write about what he sees and one of his joys is going to food-themed events, noting the International Greek Food Festival in Little Rock was chosen for the state's Food Hall of Fame.

This year's at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Little Rock will be held May 15-17. Almost 30,000 people turn out each May for the three-day event, which began in 1984 to raise money for the church.

"Thanks in part to the money we raised from the food festival, we had the mortgage paid off on the new building by 1989," said Little Rock construction executive Gus Vratsinas, one of the event's founders. "At that point, we began giving to various charities. Those charities, in turn, started supplying us with volunteers for the festival. We've got this thing pretty well figured out after all these years,” he said.

"Though small in number compared to other immigrant groups, Greeks and Greek Americans in Arkansas have had a notable impact upon the state," Helen Hronas wrote for the Central Arkansas Library System's Encyclopedia of Arkansas.