WANTAUGH, NY – The St. Markella of Wantagh community members noted the success of their annual festival, which ran June 7-10. Although it coincided with other New York-area festivals including Holy Resurrection in Brookville and Holy Cross in Whitestone, the St. Markella festival was well-attended and is now an established event for locals. Saturday was especially well-attended.
“This time the weather was good, unlike previous years, when weather conditions were not so good. There were other festivals going on at the same time, but we did well, no complaints,” said Parish Council President Kostas (Gus) Galitos told The National Herald, even if Sunday lacked the sunshine which usually draws larger crowds to the festival.
The parishioners of St. Markella gathered a good number of volunteers and made full use of the available space, setting the scene with rides, toys, traditional sweets, and, of course, the classic dishes, including souvlaki, lamb, kontosouvli, and grilled octopus. At the same time, there was also a small grocery store, promoting Greek products that could be found in any local supermarket in Greece.
“There are many challenges. We are a small community,” Mr. Galitos pointed out, referring also to the social characteristics of the parish members.
“The people here are not very wealthy, they are workers. The finances of the Church are not so good, because we do not have many members, but we try with various events and, of course, the festival to raise money for the Church and cover our expenses.”
Philoptochos President Maria Koinis also spoke to TNH about the efforts of the parishioners to successfully complete the festival but also to help the community rise up and cope.
“We’re better than last year. We have more volunteers. We are trying to raise money for the church to meet the obligations. Women made sweets and donuts, and we also opened a grocery store. It is also important that the younger generation came here and we had people of all ages helping us.”
This year, the Community is celebrating its 29th anniversary.
Left to right: Kostas Galitos, Panagiotis Bachas, George Gasparis, Paris Karounos, and Nikos Ioannidis at the St. Markella festival in Wantagh. Photo by Costas Bej