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Twelfth Annual Greek Festival Deemed a Success

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For the past twelve years (barring the pandemic years) Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church in Spring Hill has opened its doors and its culture to the community. This year’s festival which took place February 3rd and 4th was blessed with beautiful weather and a record turnout.

According to Emily Thomas, one of the festival organizers, somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 people showed up for the two-day event, along with a dozen vendors. “The vendors loved the Greek Festival and they want to come back,” remarked Ms. Thomas.

One of the vendors was Tom Hunt with his unusual resin-encased jellyfish which he orders from a company in San Diego. These sea creatures are raised in aquariums in Hawaii and shipped all over the world. However, the ones that die are quick-frozen and then sent to the company in California that dips them in liquid resin. When the resin dries the cast is chipped away and then the finished product is polished.

An event like this requires dozens of people cooperating on a common goal. Some work for days preparing the delicious baked goods and some serve the food or supervise the children’s area. Others prepare the gift baskets that are raffled off. And of course, there’s the setup and cleanup crew. These are just a few of the tasks that need to be done.

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Sponsors are also vital to events like this. The sponsors this year included Lead Foot City; Rivera’s Flooring, Kitchens & More; Vans Cars and Trucks; Amen Air, Inc.; Attorneys Lucas, Macyszyn and Dyer; Capital City Bank; Canterbury Arms Assisted Living; Drs. DeLuca, Ressel and Congemi Dental Practice; Whiting Insurance; Sam’s Club; and Cellular Sales Verizon. The Community Partners included Cemex; Hernando County Sheriff’s Office; Hernando Sun; Radio Station Hits 106; Brooksville Main Street; Florida’s Adventure Coast; United Way; Radio Station 103.9; and Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, Inc.

The event organizers wanted to give a special shout out to Greek City Café for their support over the past several years.

This year the Children’s Zone expanded to include a giant slide. There were games, as well. These activities helped to keep the little ones entertained.

Gyro Hero Champion at the Twelfth Annual Greek Festival. [Photo courtesy of Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church]
Gyro Hero Champion at the Twelfth Annual Greek Festival. [Photo courtesy of Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church]

One of the highlights of the festival was the Greek dancing. Many of the dancers were young people wearing the colorful traditional dress. The months of practice under the direction of skilled teachers, Meech, Georgia and George Bouziotis, was evident in the performers’ poise and their execution of the lively dance steps.

Another highlight was listening to the music of Demetrios Kousathanas. He comes by his talent naturally, as his father was born on the Greek island of Mykonos. Kousathanas has been a professional musician for thirty-seven years and usually performs at clubs, weddings and other events with a band called The Islanders. At the festival he played a number of instruments, including the bouzouki.

El Gowans, a first-timer at the festival, remarked, “I was pleasantly surprised because a lot of the vendors are ones I don’t see at other festivals with very unusual items.”

Her friend, Ellen Hall, commented, “The vendors here are unique with good quality and good prices. We’re really looking forward to the Greek food.”

Speaking of food, one of the more unusual food-related events was Peter George’s flaming cheese demonstration− Saganaki. He started by adding olive oil to a pan and then heating it to a fairly high temperature. Then, he placed the cheese, which had been dipped in flour, into the pan and fried it on both sides. You need to use a cheese with a firm texture. If you can’t find the traditional Greek cheeses, you can use provolone or Monterey Jack. The last step is to pour a little ouzo or some other alcohol over the cheese and light it. I’m not necessarily recommending you try this part at home unless you’re adventurous!

Dawn Triconi, another organizer, stated, “The biggest goal for the church is community outreach. We love hosting the Greek festival. Christ the Savior is a small but mighty church and it is growing each year.”

As a matter of fact, a number of people who have attended past festivals have joined the church.
Kathy Tocci, one of the women involved in making the baked goods and who just recently joined the church, commented, “It’s a lovely community. They just open their arms to people. I like the Mass because some of it is in English and some is in Greek.”

If anyone is interested in knowing more about Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church go to www.christthesavior.info.

Reverend Father John and Presbytera Diana Lazarek. [Photo courtesy of Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church]
Reverend Father John and Presbytera Diana Lazarek. [Photo courtesy of Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church]
Peter George. [Photo courtesy of Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church]
Peter George. [Photo courtesy of Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church]

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