Oakmont Greek Food Festival returns with bigger layout and menu than last year

Oakmont Greek Food Festival returns with bigger layout and menu than last year

The Oakmont Greek Food Festival is a returning with a more substantial layout and menu.

This marks the 48th year for the festival, presented by the Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church at 12 Washington Ave.

Food will be served from noon to 9 pm on June 24-26. Live music and entertainment is expected to continue till 11 each night.

Event co-chairman Andy Gavrilos said organizers have combined some of the aspects used during the pandemic with a more traditional layout that fans of the three-day fundraising celebration may recognize.

“We are returning closer to our pre-covid format, but we are implementing some things that we’ve learned over the last couple years,” Gavrilos said. “We had to hedge a little bit against a possible resurgence. This year’s a little bit of a hybrid model.”

Layout includes a big tent in the front lot and more outdoor seating to complement indoor dining in the main hall.Pastries and honey balls will be at their traditional location, at the building across from the main hall.

There will be three lines in the main hall for people to order everything but desserts, including gyros. Previous festivals featured a separate gyro line.

Signature dinners such as Chicken Alexis, lamb shanks, pork souvlaki and the church’s legendary gyros will be available while supplies last. Beef meatballs, green beans and rice pudding are back on the menu.

Desserts returning after a brief hiatus include apricot baklava; kataife, a nut mixture wrapped in shredded filo and baked; galatoboureko, a custard treat baked into a filo; and kourambiethes, butter cookies topped with powdered sugar.

Also on the table will be pastry variety packs, a prepackaged selection of crowd favorites made the past few years to help with takeout during the pandemic.

Festival planning started in January. Supply-chain issues and inflation have impacted the festival. as most of the items cost $1 more than last year.

“Anyone who’s been to a grocery store can see what prices have done,” Gavrilos said. “We’ve done what we can to keep prices at last year’s levels, but obviously we’ve had to raise some. It costs a lot more to get the stuff.”

Online ordering and curbside pickup is available. People must order by 8 pm a day prior to pickup. More information is available at us.orderspoon.com/oakmont-greekfest-online.

Customers also can purchase frozen half-pans of spanakopita and pastitso. Each have at least 12 servings.

Tens of thousands have visited Oakmont for previous festivals. Gavrilos said he is not sure what to anticipate this time around.

“We are expecting a nice crowd,” Gavrilos said. “I don’t know if it will be 2019 levels, but I think it will be closer to that than it was last year. There’s still some people nervous about going out.

“Our expectation is we’re going to have a successful festival. Everything we’ve heard from people is that they’re excited that we’re returning back closer to normal. We’re looking forward to seeing everybody again.”

Cash transactions are prohibited. Debit or credit cards will be accepted.

Lost dancer

Among the thrills of the festival besides food are performances by the Grecian Odyssey Dancers and the Junior Grecian Stars.

One person who parishioners and others will unfortunately not be celebrating with is the late Peter Papadakos.

A treasurer and longtime member of the Grecian Odyssey Dancers, Papadakos of East Pittsburgh passed away Jan. 14 from covid and pneumonia complications. He was 66.

Papadakos was a chanter and head of the church’s music department.

Gavrilos said he will certainly be on people’s minds.

“Oakmont was his church,” Gavrilos said. “He did a lot of things not just for our church, but for other area churches as well as our diocese in Pittsburgh. The dance group has suffered losses before. Probably not to the magnitude of the loss of Peter, but as we know the show must go on when you’re in that business. Peter will truly be missed. I’m sure he will be on everyone’s mind.”

There may be some special recognition for Papadakos at the festival.

More information about the event is available at dormitionpgh.org or by calling 412-828-4144.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@triblive.com or via Twitter

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