SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The pastries are stacked nearly to the ceiling on the eve of Spartanburg’s Greek Festival.
So, what’s it take to serve everything from souvlaki to baklava at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church?
7News went behind the scenes inside the busy kitchen Wednesday as volunteers put the last minute touches on all the delicious food that will be served over the next several days at the church on Asheville Highway.
The man orchestating the preparation of the gyros and that special sauce they call Tzatziki is Pano Stathakis.
Stathakis said they prepare 25 gallons of Tzatziki, 1,100 lbs. of pork, 120 lbs. of pasta, 1,000 lbs. of potatoes, 3,000 stuffed grape leaves, and 800 lbs. of Gyro meat.
Already prepared and boxed across the church fellowship hall is the always popular pastries.
“We’re talking 20 women cooking 5 to 6 hours a day,” said Pano.
The pastries may be difficult to pronounce but they are all delicious.
The baklava is the most popular, according to Teresa Georgas.
It didn’t all happen overnight.
All of it has been months in the making.
“There are about 20 people that put 300-400 hours volunteer hours,” said Pano.
All to bring the people of the Upstate and surrounding areas a taste of how the greeks do it and that includes a tradition of family meals that have been passed down from one generation to the next.
“It brings the family together. It’s a time when families vent together, they talk, they communicate., mom and dad get to see what the kids did at school,” said Pano. “People are very proud because food wasn’t very plentiful in Greece back in WWII and the civil war of Greece. People were starving.”
Nobody will starve at the festival this weekend.
New this year will be big screen T.V. screens under the outdoor tents so college football fans won’t miss the games or the Greeks.
Here are the dates and hours:
- Thursday, Sept. 19, 11 am – 2 pm
Luncheon: Greek Chicken Platter and Pastries served inside the Hellenic Center
Greek Festival Opens Friday, Sept. 20 with all events and full menu available
- Friday 11 am – 10 pm
- Saturday 11 am – 10 pm
- Sunday 11 am – 7 pm
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church is located at 697 Asheville Highway in Spartanburg.