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Greek celebration festival makes triumphant return to the Valley

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BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Starting today, St. John’s Summer Greek Food Festival is back.

Co-chairs of the event, also colloquially known around town as the St. John’s Glendi, explained what went into planning the festival as well as what to expect.

“We’ve been prepping for over a month now, maybe two months, making dinners, making different pastries,” said co-chair of the festival Andrew Rosko. “It’s all about celebrating our Greek culture and it’s something that we’re sharing with the community. We’ll have lots of good dinners, good pastries, different bookstore items and clothing apparel.”

The event starts today and is happening all weekend. Co-chair Anthony Orologas explained where the commonly referred to name Glendi comes from exactly.

“The Glendi in Greek usually means a celebration, so this is our summer Greek festival,” Orologas said. “The name Glendi kind of stuck and that’s [what] most people in the area know it as, the St. John’s Glendi. We’re celebrating our food, music and dance.”

He said there will also be live Greek bands every evening, as well as professional Greek dancers performing on both Saturday and Sunday evenings.

It’s happening at 4955 Glenwood Ave. in Boardman today from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, the event kicks off at noon and closes at 9 p.m. On Sunday, they open again at noon and close at 6 p.m.

“This is one of our biggest fundraisers we do so we can continue some of the ministries we do in the church, and it’s just a way to outreach to the community,” Rosko said.

Some of the traditional Greek dishes and desserts include gyros, spanakopita, pastitsio, lamb and, of course, a variety of Greek pastries.

“[Our pastries] are all homemade by our parishioners with love and care,” Orologas said. “There’s about 14 different kinds of pastries, so bring your appetites for sure…We have traditional baklava, chocolate-covered baklava and baklava cheesecake as well.”

Last year, the event was socially distanced; to comply with COVID-19 regulations, the organizers turned it into a drive-thru.

“People pre-ordered, they came and we had everything packed, brought them out to their car and that was that,” Rosko said. “This year with some of the restrictions lifted, we wanted to bring some of that normalcy back. The way we have it set up this year is you’ll come inside the social hall to get your food, then seating will be outside. We want to keep everyone safe at the same time.”

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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