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Annual Greek Food Festival in Oakmont is a labor of love for volunteers

Michael DiVittorio
| Monday, June 25, 2018, 6:18 p.m.
Members of the Grecian Stars dance group, Eleni Wyrick, 15, Juliana Michaels, 13, Lauren Michaels, 17, and Peter Wyrick, 15, perform June 24, at the 44th annual Greek Food Festival.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Members of the Grecian Stars dance group, Eleni Wyrick, 15, Juliana Michaels, 13, Lauren Michaels, 17, and Peter Wyrick, 15, perform June 24, at the 44th annual Greek Food Festival.
Erica Aivaliotis volunteers at the Greek pastry cafe making Loukoumades (or honey balls) the last night of the festival, June 24.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Erica Aivaliotis volunteers at the Greek pastry cafe making Loukoumades (or honey balls) the last night of the festival, June 24.
The 44th annual Greek Food Festival survived three days of intermittent rain and storms this past weekend. The Grecian Odyssey Dancers switched gears and moved their performance under the cover of the food tent the last night of the festival, June 24.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
The 44th annual Greek Food Festival survived three days of intermittent rain and storms this past weekend. The Grecian Odyssey Dancers switched gears and moved their performance under the cover of the food tent the last night of the festival, June 24.
The 44th annual Greek Food Festival survived three days of intermittent rain and storms this past weekend. The Grecian Odyssey Dancers switched gears and moved their performance under the cover of the food tent the last night of the festival, June 24.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
The 44th annual Greek Food Festival survived three days of intermittent rain and storms this past weekend. The Grecian Odyssey Dancers switched gears and moved their performance under the cover of the food tent the last night of the festival, June 24.
The Greek Food Festival held by Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Oakmont has drawn people from surrounding communities for 44 years and counting. Held the last full weekend in June, the traditional festival includes Greek food, music and dancing. Four-year-old Maryn Meyer gives a thumbs up to her first tastes of the lamb from a gyro June 23.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
The Greek Food Festival held by Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Oakmont has drawn people from surrounding communities for 44 years and counting. Held the last full weekend in June, the traditional festival includes Greek food, music and dancing. Four-year-old Maryn Meyer gives a thumbs up to her first tastes of the lamb from a gyro June 23.
The Greek Food Festival held by Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Oakmont has drawn people from surrounding communities for 44 years and counting. Held the last full weekend in June, the traditional festival includes Greek food, music and dancing. Lamb kabobs are grilled to perfection by Panagiotis Mikroudis and Raymond Zelizik at the 2018 event on Saturday, June 23, 2018.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
The Greek Food Festival held by Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Oakmont has drawn people from surrounding communities for 44 years and counting. Held the last full weekend in June, the traditional festival includes Greek food, music and dancing. Lamb kabobs are grilled to perfection by Panagiotis Mikroudis and Raymond Zelizik at the 2018 event on Saturday, June 23, 2018.
The Greek Food Festival held by Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Oakmont has drawn people from surrounding communities for 44 years and counting. Held the last full weekend in June, the traditional festival includes Greek food, music and dancing. Chris Aivaliotos shaves lamb for the gyros at the 2018 event on June 23. Aivaliotos has been volunteering at the festival for over 20 years.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
The Greek Food Festival held by Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Oakmont has drawn people from surrounding communities for 44 years and counting. Held the last full weekend in June, the traditional festival includes Greek food, music and dancing. Chris Aivaliotos shaves lamb for the gyros at the 2018 event on June 23. Aivaliotos has been volunteering at the festival for over 20 years.
Greek Food Festival — 44 years and counting. Held the last full weekend in June the traditional festival at the Greek Orthodox Church, Oakmont-Verona, has drawn people from surrounding communities to enjoy Greek food, music and dancing. Matthew Gemperle, volunteers with the Penn Hills NJROTC at the gyro station on June 23. Membes of NJROTC volunteer for community service projects.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Greek Food Festival — 44 years and counting. Held the last full weekend in June the traditional festival at the Greek Orthodox Church, Oakmont-Verona, has drawn people from surrounding communities to enjoy Greek food, music and dancing. Matthew Gemperle, volunteers with the Penn Hills NJROTC at the gyro station on June 23. Membes of NJROTC volunteer for community service projects.
The 44th annual Greek Food Festival survived three days of intermittent rain and storms this past weekend. Kendall Thomas, 6, and her brother, Seth, 4, play in this huge puddle in front of the stage during last night of the festival, June 24.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
The 44th annual Greek Food Festival survived three days of intermittent rain and storms this past weekend. Kendall Thomas, 6, and her brother, Seth, 4, play in this huge puddle in front of the stage during last night of the festival, June 24.

Preparing food for thousands and entertaining guests at the annual Greek Food Festival in Oakmont is a labor of love and a way of passing down traditions for Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church volunteers.

“We have a nice team that pitches in,” said pastry coordinator Joanne Cope. “We start baking in March. It's a social thing, too.”

The 44th annual festival, which serves as a fundraiser for the church, took place June 22-24 along Washington Avenue.

Festival chairman Andy Gavrilos said organizers expected this year to be the best yet as far as attendance and food serving. He estimated 15,000 or more people stopped by over the three days during which more than 30,000 menu items were served.

Gavrilos said money generated from the festival “certainly helps fund a good number of the programs we have for the youth beyond traditional expenses.”

Along with food, people enjoyed performances by the Grecian Odyssey Dancers and observed religious items on display from the Nativity of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Monastery.

Planning will soon be under way for next year's event. Volunteers will regroup in July to review what went well and what could be improved for next year.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter @mikejdivittorio.

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