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Nashua church festival to celebrate Greek culture

Union Leader Correspondent

May 14. 2014 11:08PM

NASHUA — Members of St. Philip Greek Orthodox Church have been working for months to prepare for their Greek Food Festival, an annual celebration of Greek culture and cuisine.

The two-day event, which runs this Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., has become a springtime tradition for thousands of local fans who crave a taste of homemade Greek cooking and a chance to do some Greek dancing with people who actually know the steps.

“Thousands of people from all around Nashua come every year,” said church administrative assistant Cheryl Petren, who has been fielding requests for information about the popular festival since last month.

“I think we have the best food,” added Petren, who said that everything is made by members of the church. “And I know we have the best pastry.”

As in years past, volunteers will be serving up favorite dishes such as dolmethes, spanakopita, gyros and pastichio, a Greek-style lasagna. The menu also includes roasted chicken and marinated lamb cooked over an open fire.

The pastry table will be loaded with treats such as baklava, traditional Greek butter cookies and galatabouriko or phyllo layered with creamy custard.

“And we’ll have loukamades, being made fresh,” said Petren who added that many people compare that specialty to a doughnut hole with honey sauce.

“It’s like that, but really, it’s better,” laughed Petren.

Guests can dine indoors or under a heated tent, and they are also welcomed to pack up and take home as much baklava as they can carry.

The Hellenic Dance Troupe, led by Maria Donati, will perform Friday and Saturday afternoon around 4 p.m. followed by live music and dancing. A bounce house, games and other activities will be available for younger festival guests.

The church, located at 500 W. Hollis St., has a large parking lot, and there will be additional parking and shuttle-bus service from Stellos Stadium.

Although weather forecasters have predicted rain for both Friday and Saturday, Petren said that shouldn’t discourage anyone from joining this year’s festival.

“The weather doesn’t matter. Everything will be indoors or under the tent,” she said, adding that the festival actually is a perfect place to head on a rainy day.

“It’s a good time, no matter what the weather is,” she said. “And the food — it really is the best.”

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