The Church of the Annunciation at 175 Oaklawn Ave. has long had reputation for putting on one of Rhode Island’s most popular summertime festivals – the Cranston Greek Festival.
At the heart of the three-day festival are homemade authentic Greek food and pastries, which help attract between 25,000 and 30,000 people from all parts of Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut in early September each year.
When a torrid rain and wind storm ravaged Rhode Island a decade ago and forced the closure of the festival, the church decided to host a scaled-down version of the event the following May.
That gathering – the Spring Greek Food Fair – will mark its 10th year this weekend inside the church’s Peter G. Mihailides Center
Frank “Theofanis” Markos, who has worn just about every volunteer hat possible during his years serving the Church of the Annunciation, announced the Food Fair’s hours will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free, there’s plenty of parking on the church grounds. Lunch and dinner will be served.
“Our menu is very similar to what we serve in the September Greek Festival,” said Markos, who serves as Parish Council president and owns and operates Markos Auto Body & Sales in Providence. “We’ll have plenty of our delicious food served by our dedicated parishioners.”
In addition to the authentic Greek food – which ranges from roast lamb and gyros to souvlaki and pastries – there will be a café and bookstore all within the Mihailides Center.
All lunch and dinner items will be served with a Greek salad, roasted potatoes, rice pilaf and rolls, and most cost approximately $11. The roasted lamb plate, which is always a sellout, is $15.
People will also be able to enjoy the gyro sandwich, spinach pies, rice stuffed grape leaves, cheese pie and soft drinks during the festival.
Likewise, the Greek pastry shop – which is always a sellout during the September event – will serve the always-popular baklava and galaktoboueko, which is layers of buttered phyllo dough filled with custard, as well as rice pudding with cinnamon and traditional Greek cookies.
“Many people who attend the festival in September have told us we should do this more often,” said the Rev. Andrew George, the Greek Orthodox parish’s pastor. “So here it is, all indoors this weekend.”
This weekend’s Spring Greek Fair will be the first-ever for the Rev. Nick Lanzourakis, the new assistant pastor at Church of the Annunciation.
“I am so excited for the Spring Fair,” he said. “I heard from so many parishioners about the joyful and festival atmosphere that goes on in Demetrakas Hall … there will be seating for everyone. I look forward to meeting our new neighbors here at my new home in Cranston.”