Lake Michigan is again Sheboygan’s once a year stand in for the Aegean Sea, when the St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church Greek Festival takes place at Deland Park this weekend.
The festival runs from 12 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 24th and from 12 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 25th. This festival marks the 67th one for St. Spyridon.
The festival is the major annual fundraiser for St. Spyridon. The church is over 100 years old and holds services in the second oldest original Greek Orthodox Church structure in the U.S.
While it began in the early 1900s as a church picnic for members and friends, it grew to become an all community festival behind the Church on South 10th Street, moving to Kiwanis Park in the 1970’s, and eventually to Deland Park.
The lakefront is particularly suited to the festival as many of the parishioners’ family histories originate from the various Greek islands and shoreline villages.
While the festival has changed over the years in size and structure, the food has been the feature that draws people back each year. Once again pastries will be prepared locally, including 21 trays of baklava; a honey and nut pastry layered in filo dough that is identifiably Mediterranean. Gyros filled with meat, vegetables and a special sauce on a toasted pita bread will be prepared hot off the grill. Roasting spits will be packed with chicken while delicious shish-ka-bobs will also be grilled.
Parishioners will be frying hot honey puffs; little round doughnuts dipped in honey and cinnamon, along with saganaki which is flaming cheese, yelling “Opa!” as often as they can. In addition there will be “Never on Sundaes”; ice cream topped with baklava sauce, fresh Greek salads, hot spinach pies and a variety of beverages.
Costumed Greek dancers will perform Greek folk dances Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.
A DJ will play Greek music suitable for dancing throughout the picnic, and the audience will be invited to learn traditional line dances. A children’s moon bounce will also be present.