TroyJune 19, 2012
Opa! Fest dishes out the real Greek deal
By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer
Hardworking volunteers from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church will once again roll up their sleeves to offer up all things Greek for the popular Opa! Fest.
St. Nick’s, as parishioners call it, was first established south of Eight Mile in Detroit and is celebrating its 76th year. Parishioners have put on the festival in Troy for the past 19 years.
Patti Chalker, office administrator for the church, said the festival is the largest ongoing Greek festival in metro Detroit.
All of the food — galaktoboureko, a custard and phyllo dough confection; pastitsio, or Greek lasagna; grape leaves; spinach pies; baklava; and loukoumathes, or honey puffs — is prepared by energetic volunteers.
Kessie Kaltsounis, chair of the festival, said this year’s festival includes more community outreach than ever before.
Military families get free admission this year, and Forgotten Harvest will have a table where people may donate or sign up to volunteer their time to help the organization, which aims to relieve hunger in metro Detroit by “rescuing” surplus, prepared and perishable food and donating it to emergency food providers.
Cooking classes will be held every hour and a half this year because they were so popular last time, Kaltsounis said.
Folk music and dancing; the Plaka Marketplace, with authentic Greek merchandise; wine tastings; children’s games and food; tours of the church and iconography; and a raffle drawing, with a grand prize of a trip for two to Greece, will be on tap during the three-day festival. A local band that performs Greek music, Enigma, will return to the festival stage this year.
Opa! Fest will be held on the grounds of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 760 W. Wattles, between Crooks and Livernois, 4-11 p.m. June 22, noon-11 p.m. June 23 and noon-8 p.m. June 24. General admission is $2, and children younger than 12 attend for free. Admission is free with three cans of food to benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. Gyros will be sold for half price noon-4 p.m. June 23. Free parking and shuttle service is available from Walsh College, 3838 Livernois, south of Wattles, to and from the festival. For information, visit www.opafest.com.
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