Demetrakas Hall has never looked more festive than it did during last weekend’s two-day Greek Food Fair & Christmas Bazaar.
Nearly two-dozen round tables were covered in red linen cloths topped with red plastic coverings and Snowmen and Santa Claus centerpieces, for which the presenting Good Samaritan Philoptochos Society drew rave review Saturday and Sunday.
Moreover, the stage was adorned with decorated and lighted Christmas trees, as well as scenes such as Jolly Old Saint Nick about to slide down a snow-covered chimney and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer awaiting his next flight on an adjacent rooftop.
Vendors featuring a myriad of wares – including Vintage Treasures, a raffle of a wreath that featured 14 gift cards donated by area restaurants, costume jewelry and two-dozen gift baskets – were among the many unique offerings that caught the eye of holiday-minded shoppers.
However, as it has been through the years, the event’s famous homemade pastry and Greek food offerings like gyro sandwiches and roasted lamb dinners created long lines that extended out the main door of the spacious Rev. Peter G. Mihailides Center at 175 Oaklawn Ave. in Cranston.
“I’ve never in all my years seen such long lines of people waiting to have lunch and/or dinner,” said Georgia Pappas, chair of the event. “Thank God we had great weather. I’m thrilled with the way everything came together.”
Suddenly, Pappas paused before adding: “We had lots and lots of help; I’m really thankful for members of our society who came together for this important fundraising event.”
Once all the bills are paid, the two-day event’s total proceeds will be given to various nonprofits that help need people and families around the state.
“We sold out of pastry,” Nancy Harritos, who chaired that committee, exclaimed with a smile while thanking ladies like Angelica Provost, Angela Provost, Carol Xanthakis and Pauline Haralambedes, who manned the pastry counter for a total of 16 hours during the two-day event. “It’s a lot of work just preparing our many pastries. We’re all tired but it’s well worth the effort.”
Likewise, ladies who manned the Taverna serving line were, as Pappas emphasized, “exhausted by the time Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock rolled around. All the volunteers are the unsung heroes of this huge undertaking.”
Those Good Samaritans were Zalfa Geha, Lisa Petrou, Koula Rougas, Sylvia Gionis, Betty Andriotis, Katerina Firganis and Hoda Daiaa.
And there was a special coming together by women of all ages, proud parishioners like the Mihailides sisters, Julianna and Katarina, who play field hockey at Seekonk High School and volunteered to man the Boston Bruins ticket raffle, and Anna Demetraks.
Then there’s Harry Bablenis, the Greek Orthodox parish’s head chef, and folks like Megan Srkis, Gabriel Daiaa, Apaostolos Kallis and Kiki Arsoniades, who prepared the delicious dinners Saturday and Sunday.
While the Ladies Philoptochos Society again put its best foot forward, the Rev. Andrew George and Rev. Nicholas Lanzourakis – pastor and assistant pastor, respectively, of the Church of the Annunciation – served as a two-man public relations bureau while thanking people for supporting the women’s group.