Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Just reading about The Pawtucket Grecian Festival this weekend - begins Friday, August 19 at 5:00 p.m. and runs through Sunday, August 21 at 9:00 p.m. - will make you hungry. The festival has everything - lamb shanks, souvlaki (kabobs), gyros (my personal must-have at any Greek outdoor event), mousaka (ground beef and eggplant), gigantes (fava beans), spanakopita (spinach in filo), tiropita (feta in filo), and, of course the ubiquitous Greek salad.

And for sweets, there are buttery wedding cookies, all the filo pastries you can name, and, because it wouldn't be a church fair without fried dough, loukomades or honey puffs (call them a Greek version of Portugese malasadas).

Greek coffee, ouzo (an anise-based apertif) and metaxa (a distilled spirit made from brandy and wine mixture) contribute to the mood. Greeks sip.

There's walk-around food and sit-down-to-dine food. The website lists what's cooking when. It is all about the food but it's food in a spirited atmosphere which means music, dancing and shopping at the agora.

Greek dancing is mesmerizing to watch - orderly, patterned, exuberant but controlled. Performances are at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church (97 Walcot Street, Pawtucket  401-725-3127) sponsors the festival which is in its 84th year. Since 1927 the church's Philoptochos Society has organized and orchestrated the event where volunteers cook for thousands of visitors. It's impressive.

For information on parking go to: www.greekfestivalri.com

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