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Greek fest helps needy, one dish at a time

The annual event is aiming to raise $100,000 to help hundreds of Tarpon Springs residents pay their rent and other bills.

Published February 19, 2004

TARPON SPRINGS - Feel free to scoff down all the Greek pastries you want. It's for a good cause.

The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Food Fest will be held today through Sunday at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral Center at 348 N Pinellas Ave. The center is about a quarter-mile north of the cathedral on the east side of the street.

The annual event is sponsored by the church's chapter of Philoptochos, which comes from the Greek words, philos and ptochos. It means "friends of the poor." The organization assists hundreds of Tarpon Springs residents each year with rent, utility bills and other needs.

Last year, organizers raised about $28,000, but Eric Savidakis says this year, they are aiming to net a whopping $100,000.

"We have big expectations," he said. "This year will be better than ever. We have more food and more seating this year. Last year, we ran out of food, but this year, we are better prepared."

He said about 100 members of the church have spent the past two weeks rolling, kneading, baking and basting in preparation for the event.

This is the first year that Savidakis, 72, will chair the event. He hails from Connecticut where he said he ran other successful food festivals.

A 2004 Toyota Highlander SUV will be raffled off, as well as two round-trip tickets to Greece, several television sets, a camera, two DVD players and a crystal vase. Raffle tickets cost $50 each or three for $100.

All general admission ticket holders will have a chance to win a Caribbean trip for two.

The menu features a variety of polysyllabic Greek dishes: spanakopita, dolmades, pastichio, souvlaki, moussaka and keftedes. But don't let the names baffle you. They are just various mouthwatering combinations of lamb, pork, chicken, rice, spinach, cheese and potatoes. A fish dinner will be served Friday.

Greek wine, beer and the Greek national drink, ouzo, will be for sale. A Greek band, Dioskouri, will perform.

And don't worry about embarrassing yourself. After a few glasses of ouzo, you'll be dancing like Zorba the Greek.

If you go

WHAT: The annual St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Food Fest.

WHERE: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral Center, 348 N Pinellas Ave., Tarpon Springs.

WHEN: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. today; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday; noon to sunset Sunday.

HOW MUCH: Admission is $2 per person with children younger than 12 admitted free.

For information, call (727) 937-3540.

[Last modified February 19, 2004, 02:00:25]

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