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St. Michael's festival offers culinary delights

| Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

From the sweetness of baklava to the savory tastes of kibbee, the volunteers of the St. Michael's Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church have been busy for months preparing all the delicacies that will be offered at its annual feast.

St. Michael's Feast will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The annual event has not only grown in popularity, but also has become a tradition shared by many who travel for the once-a-year opportunity to sample the wonderful cuisine.

“Our feast has really, really grown over the years,” co-chairwoman Valerie Flizanes said.

Years ago, it was just a dinner, she said. It flourished into a full festival, with hundreds in attendance.

“This has turned into a really big thing and people can't wait,” Flizanes said. “They know that it's always the Sunday after Labor Day.”

The volunteers begin cooking and baking months ahead, meeting on a regular basis to prepare the ethnic dishes, and enjoying every minute of it.

“We usually have between 10 and 12 of us that meet weekly,” festival co-chair Sara Armanious said. “We'll work for a while, then we have lunch. It's really nice and we all enjoy cooking.”

Many attendees purchase large quantities to take home with them.

Flizanes said they cook and bake the foods and then freeze them, filling numerous large freezer units that they have specifically for the festival.

“We can only make what we can make. We always sell out,” she said.

There will be homemade lamb skewers and Pastitsio — a Greek dish of pasta, meat and bechamel sauce.

There will stuffed grape leaves and Spanakopita (a Greek savory pastry known as spinach triangles or spinach pie), along with gyros and other Mediterranean delights.

Baked delights will include baklava, Syrian bread, Galatoboureko (custard baked in phyllo), Simboosic cookies and rolls filled with apricots, nuts or poppyseeds. And more.

There are also larger containers of the food available for freezing.

“Our festival has the best food around,” Pastor John Nosal said. “I had a guy tell me last year that he goes to all the food festivals in the area and our food was the best.”

“It's always a sell-out every year,” Armanious said.

The event also features a large used book sale, offering reading material for all ages to enjoy. The church is located at 1182 Ashland St., Greenburg, off the Cedar Street exit of Route 30.

For information or order forms for food, call 724-834-1311.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.