WINCHESTER, VA – The Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church, 1700 Amherst Street in Winchester, hosted its Greek Festival on August 14-15. Attendees enjoyed Greek music and dancing while savoring festival favorites including roasted lamb, gyro, souvlaki, moussaka, pastitsio, Santorini chicken, spanakopita, tyropita, Greek salad, Greek-style green beans, manestra, dolmades, feta and Kalamata olives.
The delicious Greek pasties included classics such as baklava, flogeres, gianniotiko, karidopita, kourambiedes, portokalopita, koulourakia, daktyla, and, of course, loukoumades.
This year, guests remained outside when ordering pastries and the inside food options in an effort to limit the number of people inside the church hall. There was a line to order and an area to wait for pickup. A map of the festival layout was available on Facebook to help the festival-goers navigate.
Sophia Orfanides, baking chairwoman at the church, spoke with The Winchester Star (TWS) on August 11 during the preparations for the festival, noting that “everybody is really excited. We’re getting really positive feedback on Facebook from the community; they’re really excited about coming back and joining us. We’re going to have live music, dancing, people eating — everyone’s really excited.”
Church members told TWS that “they believe the festival has been held the past 55 years, with the exception of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Orfanides told TWS that “it means a lot that we’re able to continue exposing our Greek culture to everybody… It means a lot to us to continue that tradition.”
The festival “is a family affair with at least 10 families in the church continuing to participate year after year,” TWS reported, adding that “two of Orfanides’ daughters were helping Wednesday at the church” and “both became involved with festival preparations when they were in elementary school.”
Orfanides’ husband “runs the barbecue pit, cooking the meat, and her son has helped him since he was in elementary school, too,” TWS reported.
Orfanides also told TWS about the festival menu, noting that “we’re trying some new recipes this year. We’re excited for the community to try out some new stuff, but we do have our traditional items still on the menu.”