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General News

The 51st Annual Greek Festival at St. George Piscataway Draws Crowds

PISCATAWAY, NJ – St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Piscataway, NJ, hosted its 51st Annual Greek Festival May 16-19.

Visitors, Greek community members and non-Greeks, enjoyed traditional Greek food and sweets, shopping at the open-air markets, and music and dancing.

Presiding priest of the community the V. Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Cottros expressed to The National Herald everyone’s joy for the organization of the festival, the purpose of which, as he said, is the presentation and promotion of Greek traditions, morals and customs, music, cuisine and hospitality.

“It is rightfully considered one of New Jersey’s largest, with preparations beginning in January,” Fr. Cottros said, noting that “thousands of visitors eagerly awaited its start so they could all come together again to have fun. Wishing everyone a good summer with health, lookin forward to seeing everyone next year.”

Parish Council President George Athanasopoulos said: “The festival attracts over 15,000 visitors with all proceeds being given to the needs of the church and all its programs. Each year, we host one of the largest Greek festivals in the state of New Jersey featuring hospitality, enthusiastic volunteers, and delicious and fresh homemade Greek food and pastries. Volunteers have been involved in the preparation of various Greek dishes, such as pastitsio, moussaka, dolmades, cheese pies, spinach pies, baklava, cookies, and honey macaroons.

Presiding priest of the St. George Piscataway community V. Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Cottros with the people in charge of the festival, left to right: Constantine Apostolakis, John Lyssikatos, Fr. Cottros, Patricia Tsandiotis, and Parish Council President George Athanasopoulos. Photo: TNH/ Michael Kakias

Everyone’s favorites, such as souvlaki, gyros, and doughnuts, as well as octopus, fries and sausage were on the menu. In the indoor dining room, attendees could enjoy dishes such as grilled Athenian chicken, sliced lamb, and the appetizer platter.

The person in charge of the festival, John Lyssikatos, warmly thanked the dozens of volunteers of all ages and all the community organizations (Parish Council, Philoptochos, Parents’ Association, GOYA, AHEPA) who responded so willingly to the call of the organizing committee.

“The volunteers have been busy preparing various Greek delicacies,” he said. “There are also plenty of vegetarian options for those who need them. The entertainment includes Greek folk dances as well as live traditional music.”

Philoptochos Society Assistant Treasurer Evangelia Manolakis spoke about the efforts of the members of the Society and all the ladies of the parish who made the sweets and food for the festival.

“We have been working long hours every day for weeks to help our beloved church as much as we can,” she said. “We are especially happy that by the end of the festival everything will be sold out.”

Anna Kalogridis, formerly in charge of sweets for 20 years, emphasized that the day before the Festival opened they made 7,500 dolmades at the Cretan House, due to space, and brought them to the festival.

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