49 years of Greek tradition celebrated in Fort Myers

Reporter: Haley Zarcone
Published: Updated:

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church held its 49th annual “Greek Fest” this weekend. Greek food, music, dancing, and more brought everyone who visited to a little piece of Greece in Southwest Florida.

Joanna Pastrikos has been a part of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church her entire life. As a kid, her parents helped put on this festival. Now, her family is carrying on the tradition.

Pastrikos gave us a step-by-step tutorial on how to make the most authentic Gyro. With Pita bread, lamb, tomato, onion, and Tzatziki sauce, it was a cuisine fit for the Greek Gods!

food optios
Authentic Greek food options are on display for attendees to choose from.

She says keeping this tradition in the family is something she wants to instill in her children. “We take a lot of pride in what we do, from the kids dancing to greeting people when they first come in to sell, even selling T-shirts. You know, it’s very important for us to continue to share our culture with the community,” says Pastrikos.

The food selection did not stop there. Festival goers could order entire meals or make a plate for themselves with traditional pieces of the Greek diet. After dinner, a table lined with authentic desserts like Baklava and Kataifi waited for those with a sweet tooth.

All made by hand, these foods and desserts are a labor of love for the volunteers of the church. Pastrikos says, “We start it on all year-round projects. But we started typically in January. Little by little, you know the Dolmade’s prepping takes a lot. The grape leaves we roll about 7000 of them. The lady’s work, do the cookies all year round.”

greek decor
Greece’s flag, pendants and symbols of the Greek Orthodox religion greet those who walked into the festival.

Seeing about 15 thousand people each year, rain or shine, they had a big turnout this weekend. People traveled from near and far to get a taste of the Mediterranean this past weekend.

William Deligiannis and his wife traveled from Chicago, Illinois, to step into Fort Myers, a little piece of Greece. As friends of one of the Greek Fest volunteers, they flew down last week just in time to help with the festivities.

“We bought tickets. So we flew down Friday night. And we were here yesterday, all day. And then we came today and saw how it is outside. But yesterday, we worked one of the cash registers, and I also helped make up money throughout the day as well,” says Deligiannis.

To attend, the public could buy a $5 ticket to catch all the Greek fun Friday through Saturday; alongside the food and culture, a raffle with the grand prize of 20 thousand dollars was drawn Sunday night.

Proceeds from the weekend go to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

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