Greek Festival returns to Portland with food, dancing in the street

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PORTLAND — One of the city’s enduring early summer traditions resumes this week with the annual Greek Festival on the grounds of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 133 Pleasant St.

The 32nd annual festival runs from 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday with music, dancing and an abundance of Greek cuisine.

The menu includes traditional lamb kabobs called souvlaki, dolmades (grape leaves wrapped around beef and rice), and spanakopita (thin layers of phyllo dough stuffed with spinach and cheese).

Chicken and vegetarian dinners are also offered. For dessert, there will be baklava (honey-soaked layers of phyllo), loukomades (fried dough balls soaked with honey), and kourabiedes, which are butter cookies covered with powdered sugar.

The church at the corner of Park and Pleasant streets is the second oldest in Portland. It served Presbyterians and Methodists before becoming a place for the city’s growing Greek population to worship about 90 years ago. There are more than 250 families in the congregation, according to the church website.

Congregation member Luci Nanos on Monday said the festival will be staffed by as many as 100 people, working in shifts. Live music begins at 6 p.m. each night, with plenty of room for dancing.

“We have permission to block off Pleasant Street in the evenings,” Nanos said. “So people will dance in the street.”

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.