STEUBENVILLE - The new loukoumathes machine was being carefully assembled outside of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. Several food booths were being assembled nearby.
And inside the church basement the women volunteers were carefully putting the final touches on a variety of authentic Greek food that will go on sale at 11 a.m. Tuesday as the 26th-annual Grecian Food Festival kicks off the three-week Steubenville Hometown Celebration.
John Scavdis, chairperson of this year's festival, joined co-workers from the church to carefully assemble the new machine that makes small doughnut holes or loukoumathes.
NEW MACHINE – Members of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church checked out the new loukoumathes machine that will be used at this year’s 26th-annual Grecian Food Festival starting Tuesday. The festival will run through Friday evening. Inspecting the new equipment were, from left, Pete Atsalis, John Scavdis, George Maragos and Nick Maragos. -- Dave Gossett
"This machine was bought by one of our organizations so we can make more pastries faster. We have expanded our festival this year to better accommodate the thousands of visitors who will stop by for the delicious Greek food or the authentic entertainment," Scavdis explained.
The Grecian Food Festival, set to run through Friday is offering a variety of authentic Grecian food such as plaki, lamb stew, souzoukakia, loukaniko, moussaka, gyros and Greek salad as well as Grecian pastries like baklava, diples and Elena's raisin cookies.
Scavdis said the outdoor tent will be expanded from sidewalk to sidewalk on South Street.
"Outdoors we will have the small doughnuts dipped in honey. And we will have a taverna or little cafe set up under the tent where will will offer gyro sandwiches. In our Hellenic Hall we will offer complete dinners including chicken, lamb, lamb stew as well as sausage and meatballs," said Scavdis.
"We will also have our famous grape leaves and 14 different kinds of cookies," Scavdis added.
"We expanded to four days this year because we want to be able to offer our delicious food to the many people who will stop at the festival," said Scavdis.
"Everyone is invited to come down to the 26th-annual Grecian Food Festival for the delicious food and authentic entertainment. There is a chance we may have the Four Coins at our Grecian Food Festival this year. One of the members is having health issues so we aren't sure yet. But if they can join us they will," said Scavdis.
According to Holy Trinity Parish President Anthony Mougianis, the annual festival has "special significance for all of us because we have lost so many friends, family and parishioners during the past 18 months."
"We are a small and aging community. We do this because of our passion to share our culture, our food and our heritage with the community. And this is also a way to keep our church moving forward, hopefully for many years to come. This is definitely a labor of love for all of us that starts in January and comes to a conclusion this week. Then we will start preparing for next year," explained Mougianis.
Rikki Kamarados said the Grecian Food Festival is a popular event year after year "because the food is so good."
"Our festival has proven successful because we are full of tradition and people in our community like traditions. We will also offer rice pudding this year and will have a full bar at our outdoors tent. Credit cards will be accepted at several locations at the festival this year and we will also be selling gift cards for the first time," Kamarados said.
Phone-in and carry-out orders are available during the Grecian Food Festival by calling (740) 282-7770. The fax telephone number is (740) 282-2091.
Parking at the Grecian Food Festival is free, and organizers said Greek icons, music and souvenirs will be on sale during the event.
The Greek Company will provide live music from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. every evening.
According to Susan Vogagis, the orchestra provides a wide variety of Hellenic music styles and can excite any crowd with a colorful blend of dance music and easy-listening tunes.
"The Greek Company specializes in Nisiotika as well as Laika for those who love dancing in the style that has endured over the years. For listeners whose level of excitement is elevated by Rembetika, the Greek Company exhibits a unique style that takes you into a nightclub mode," said Vogagis.
The Starlets, Junior Grecian Stars and Grecian Stars, all children from the parish, will be performing nightly, and the St. Nicholas Dancers from Pittsburgh will perform at 7 p.m. Friday.