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“Opa!” annual Greek Fest coming to Sheboygan’s lakefront Deland Park June 28-30

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Costumed folk dancers – Photo by Ryan Scannell Photography

St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church will host its annual Greek Fest , a three-day celebration of Greek food and dancing at Sheboygan’s lakefront Deland Park June 28-30.

While the tents go up,starting mid-week, pans of honey doused pastry will be baked and delivered to the festival grounds. as the festival begins. Church members will also be baking and assembling boxes of traditional greek cookies, but the small hot syrup donuts, dusted with cinnamon, will be made to order. The grills will be fired up for the first gyros and chicken dinners to be served up at 5 p.m. on Friday’s opening night.

The lakeside setting may be reminiscent of the Greek Island shores, but the large tent used to serve all the food can shelter the costumed dancers and those in attendance from any abrupt change in the local weather.

New this year is a Greek Market which will sell everything from food products to clothes and artifacts. There will be an increased number of other vendors on the festival grounds, as well.

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Saganaki, “flaming cheese” – Photo by Ryan Scannell Photography

This year’s festival brings back other food favorites, including Greek salad, hot spinach pies, and specially seasoned Greek fries with yogurt sauce. There are alternatives for the less adventurous, including chicken tenders, hot dogs, roast corn,and seasoned cheese curds.

The crowds always get “fired up” for the saganaki, or flaming cheese. It’s a fest favorite to yell “Opa” as the cheese is ignited, then doused in lemon juice, and served hot off the grill with pita bread.

When the parishioners of the church tackle baking thousands of pieces of traditional pastry to package and sell, they also make sure to crumble enough baklava to top the “Never on Sundae” ice cream dishes. Greek yogurt parfaits, topped with strawberries or syrup, are dessert alternatives. Coffee to drink with those sweets, and beverages will be available.

On Sunday, the public is invited to attend the Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy, with Fr. Leo Gavrilos officiating, at 9 a.m. under the festival tent. It is the only time each year that the liturgy is offered at an outside venue, and the service will also be in English . Join in for a complementary cup of coffee and Greek pastry right after the service. The food stand opening will follow soon after the service ends.

Tickets are available for Saturday and Sunday’s children’s bouncing tent, face painting, trampoline bungee jumping, and swimming pool hamster balls. Costumed folk dancers will perform each day, starting Friday evening at 6:30 p.m., three times on Saturday and twice on Sunday. The event is family friendly with tables to dine around the grounds or food available to take home.

The festival is the major fundraiser for the landmarked St. Spyridon Church, but there will be a twist this year. With gratitude for community support, a percentage of the festival profits will go to support other community charities.

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Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy with Fr. Leo Gavrilos – Photo by Ryan Scannell Photography

Originally a one-day “back of the church” family picnic held on the small parking lot and church grounds of St. Spryidon Greek Orthodox Church, the event grew over its 76 years, moving first to Kiwanis park, and then to it’s three-day long location at Deland Park. The church is one of the oldest original Greek Orthodox Church structures to still host services in the U.S.

There is no admission, and free lot and street parking surround the festival’s lakefront site. Tickets are needed for food and other activities. For more information and up -to -date food and entertainment details, please visit www.sheboygangreekfestival.com.

Festival Schedule

Friday June 28

Food Stands Open at 5 p.m.

Greek Dance Performance 6:30 p.m.

DJ Aaron Rossmiller playing Greek tunes all weekend

Saturday June 29

Food Stands Open 11 a.m.

Greek Dance Performances 1, 3:30 and 6 p.m.

Sunday June 30

Divine Liturgy Worship 9 a.m.

Food Stands Open 11 a.m.

Greek Dance Performances 1 & 3 p.m.

Cash Raffle Drawing 6 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday Only

Childrens’ Bounce House,

trampoline bungee,, hamster balls,

face painting and other activities

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