Annual Greek Festival reduced to a smaller scale, online ordering

A volunteer cook prepares sausages for the Greek Festival. This year, the Greek Festival will not be held in its traditional manner and move to an online ordering process for its Greek fare.

Assumption Greek Orthodox Church’s Greek Festival downsized this year due to COVID-19-related concerns. For this reason, the church is calling its 94th annual festival “Mikró Greek Festival 2020”—“Mikro” being the Greek word for “small.”

Its main difference from previous years is the food. This year there will not be various booths set up at Bridgeport’s Prairie Winds Community Center with a variety of Greek food choices. Instead, interested people can pre-order their food from a limited menu by Aug. 2 to pick up on Aug. 8 at a tent located at the center’s parking lot.

Festival Committee Chairman Nicole Dean said while they weren’t necessarily concerned about the virus itself, they were concerned about planning for the number of people who would have decided to show up, which is why the organizers made the decision to go the pre-ordering route.

“We get around 1,000 to 1,400 people at the festival, but we knew that wouldn’t be the case this year,” she said. “But it is hard to judge how many people would come and we didn’t want to have leftover food. We still wanted to have the fundraiser for our church and have a presence in the community.”

The menu includes frozen tyropitas, a cheese stuffed pastry; baklava, a pastry served with honey; diples, a fried dessert served with honey and walnuts; koulourakia kourabiedes, a Greek cookie with powdered sugar, and loukanikon, a sausage. Unfortunately, gyros, a Greek Festival favorite, did not make the cut.

“(Gyros) are popular to eat fresh; they aren’t as good to take to go,” Dean said. “We pride ourselves on the quality, and we wanted to produce items this year that would be OK traveling.”

Food is not the only thing different about this year’s festival. The annual auction moved online and formal dance routines will not be performed this year.

However, to try to keep some of the Greek Festival atmosphere, the young dancers who typically perform will be around on pick up day to put on a few informal shows off and on while people come to get their food. A second tent at the parking lot will have freshly grilled Greek sausage and drinks for purchase if people decide to hang out for a bit.

“We wanted to be able to do something even if on a smaller scale,” Dean said. “We definitely wanted to continue on with our tradition. There was not really a way we weren’t going to do that.”

To pre-order food from the menu, visit http://assumption-greek-orthodox-church.square.site/ or call 308-279-0077 before Aug. 2. Food must be pre-ordered and cannot be ordered the day of pick up. The food will be available for pick up on Saturday, Aug. 8, between 3 and 6 p.m. To bid in the auction, visit greekfestauction.com. Bidding is currently open and closes at 5 p.m. on Aug. 8.

If you would like to participate in the fundraiser without purchasing food or bidding in the auction, you can also make a donation at the auction’s website. For more updates on the event, visit the Facebook event page titled “Mikró Greek Festival 2020.”

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