NEWS

After pandemic pause, Cranston Greek Festival set to return for 35th year

By PETE FONTAINE
Posted 9/1/21

The Cranston Greek Festival, a time-honored Rhode Island tradition, will be back in 2021 after a year's hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People will be able to enjoy delicious dinners like roast lamb and souvlaki as well as a wide

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NEWS

After pandemic pause, Cranston Greek Festival set to return for 35th year

Posted

The Cranston Greek Festival, a time-honored Rhode Island tradition, will be back in 2021 after a year’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

People will be able to enjoy delicious dinners like roast lamb and souvlaki as well as a wide variety of homemade pastry when the Church of the Annunciation opens its 35th annual three-day Greek Festival on Friday, Sept. 10, at 5 o’clock in celebration of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary.

The Rev. Andrew George, long-serving pastor at Church of the Annunciation, along with chairman Theofanis “Frank” Markos announced the festival will continue on Saturday, Sept. 11, from noon to 10 p.m. and conclude Sunday, Sept. 12, from noon to 8 p.m. on the parish grounds at 175 Oaklawn Ave.

In keeping with tradition, the festival will include dinners, sandwiches such as the always-popular gyro, a la carte offerings like spanakopita (spinach pie), grilled items like hamburgers and Greek pork sausage, a full-fledge Pastry Shoppe including baklava, fried dough, a coffee house and a cash bar.

Likewise, there will be like Greek music throughout the festival as well as well as appearances by Annunciation’s award-winning Odyssey Dance Troupe under the leadership of longtime director Dr. Stephen Rougas.

The 2021 edition will also include Greek imports, orthodoxy information, a bookstore, tours of the recently-remodeled church that fell victim of an accidental fire last year and the all-important free shuttle service that will run concurrently each day from the Cranston High School West parking lot and take people onto the church grounds.

Markos, as well as co-chairpersons Kevin Phelan, Tina Liakos and Evan Andrikos, who are leading dozens of proud parish parishioners in preparation of the festival, this weekend issued an open invitation for people of all ages to attend the 35th annual three-day fun/food fest and enjoy the many parts of their proud Greek heritage.

“Our many volunteers have been working tirelessly to present our renewed festival,” said Markos, who owns and operates Markos Auto Body Sales & Service in Providence and has long chaired the ambitious event. “Everyone here at Church of the Annunciation works hard to present the festival, including our pastor, Rev. Andrew George, and Assistant Pastor Father Nick Lanzourakis. It will be all systems go on Sept. 10.”

Perhaps the perfect example of the pride parishioners have in presenting the event is Annunciation’s unique and tireless Baking Brigade, headed by longtime pastry chairperson Koula Rougas, her daughter-in-law Trisia Rougas and Kathy Grammas, who are this year’s co-chairs.

“We don’t have to be reminded of the hot and humid summer we’ve had,” Markos noted, “but on many of those nights, when they could have stayed home or whatever, a large number of ladies – and even some men – came to the [George Demetrakas] Parish Center to work during on baking nights.”

By Sept. 8, those baking nights will have resulted in 40,000-plus pieces of Greek pastry. All of the treats figure to have sold out by the time Sunday, Sept. 12, rolls around.

“Father Andrew issues an invitation for people to come volunteer and join the fun that’s become a big part of our baking nights,” Markos noted. “All those nights – a.k.a. workshops – begin with prep work at 4 p.m. Then baking starts at 6 o’clock and concludes when the last pieces come out of our oven and are specially packed and packaged for the festival.”

For more information, visit annunciationri.org or follow the Cranston Greek Festival’s page on Facebook.

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