Hand over hand. Hand to hand. Hand in hand, the annual Greek Festival comes together.
For Irini Makris, veteran volunteer at the festival, hands do the talking.Makris punctuates every conversation with animated gestures, a sign language only briefly interrupted as she hand wraps a portion of the 27,000 Dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) prepared for the event.
Many hands, working together, piece the festival foods, activities and entertainment into a patchwork of ethnic heritage.
The Greek Festival, the granddaddy of ethnic celebrations in Salt Lake City, convenes Friday, Sept. 8, at 10 a.m. Opening day festivities continue until 11 p.m.; Hours on Saturday, Sept. 9, are the same. On Sunday, Sept. 10, the festival will open at 11 a.m. and conclude at 11 p.m. Admission for adults is $2; senior citizens and children 6 to 16 will be admitted for $1. Children under 5 are free.
A special Friday lunch invitation is extended to the business community. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the $2 admission will be refunded when you buy $5 or more in the food line.
The Greek Festival food line has a reputation for quality, consistency and a touch of adventure. Our everyday routines may be startled by the opportunity to bite into a whole squid, to savor a serving of Stifatho (a distinctively seasoned beef and onion stew) or to indulge in a portion of Baklava.
Among other Greek specialties served at the festival are Spanakopites, spinach, feta cheese and phyllo pies. The tasty pastries are prepared in June, when fresh spinach is readily available, then frozen until the festival.
Church ovens and many hands work throughout the summer, making thousands of cookies, breads and main dish servings.
In all, the festival menu includes 14 different a la carte foods and more than 10 different bread and pastry specialties.
Cooking demonstrations will explain the processes involved in preparing the popular Greek food items; recipes will be shared.
Many hands working together ensure that "the tradition lives on." The Greek Festival continues, hand in hand, to provide Salt Lake City with an exhilarating journey to the old country - in food, in dance, in crafts and in music.
Galaktoboureko (Custard Baked in Phyllo)
Kotopita (Chicken in Pastry)