Arts & Entertainment

NJ Greek Fest Kicks Off with Music, Food & Fun for All Ages, Former Warren Resident Ted Vagelos Returns to MC

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Members of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church sell pastries and warm loukoumades (doughnuts dripping with honey) at NJ Greek Fest. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
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Anthony Bosco holds up a hand-painted bottle of Greek wine for sale in the Greek Marketplace. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
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Dancing to Greek music. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
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Inside the marketplace tent. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
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Dancing to Greek music. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
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Serving warm Greek doughnuts. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
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Customers line up for Mediterranean street food favorites. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
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Bounce houses and carnival games await children at NJ Greek Fest. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
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WESTFIELD, NJ — Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is hosting its annual NJ Greek Fest Thursday, June 1, through Sunday, June 4, featuring homemade Greek food, live music and dancing, a kids zone and Greek marketplace for the whole family to enjoy. A portion of proceeds will support Children’s Specialized Hospital, the Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad, the Hope Project to help victims of human trafficking and Ionian Village, a summer camping program in Greece operated by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

“Greek Fest is a way in which our parish can interact with the local community to present them with the best of Greek culture,” Fr. Peter Delvizis said. “Just to share that people. We have been part of this community for 50 years.”

Agapios Kyritsis (“Op” to his friends) is chairman of the annual festival.

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“Every church, to be successful, has three main pillars — prayer, education and fellowship. But nobody does the fellowship part better than the Greeks,” Kyritsis said.

In the marketplace tent, Anthony Bosco sells unique goods that he found traveling in Greece, such as religious art for the home, prayer bracelets and foods including artisan honey, sea salt, organic wine, spirits and herbal teas touted for their health benefits.

“The olive oil — I don’t care where in the world you go, you will never taste olive oil like this,” he said, holding out a bottle.

“Every product has a story,” event M.C. Ted Vagelos noted as Bosco explains how he met the old woman with a honey farm and the young man growing herbs. He picks up a box of treats.

“The Turks like to take credit for this. This is pure Cyprian delight,” he said. Made from honey, fruit and sesame, he said, “It’s like a jelly on the inside. It’s an after-dinner candy.”

Food is on everyone’s mind, and everyone’s plate, at the festival, where the lines for Mediterranean street food like gyros (pronounced “yee-ros”), falafel and grilled marinated souvlakia (skewers of pork or chicken) grow long.

Some of the other popular foods at the festival include mezes (appetizers), lamb shanks served with orzo, roast lemon chicken and potatoes, traditional pastries, warm doughnuts dripping with honey syrup and freshly made crepes with ice cream.

Patrons can wash it all down with beverages including Greek coffee, beer, wine and soft drinks.

Held at 250 Gallows Hill Road, NJ Greek Fest continues on Friday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., then on Saturday from noon until 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m. Admission is free. Parking is available at Union County College, with free shuttles to the church. For more information, visit www.NJGreekFest.com.

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