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Opa! Pittsburgh goes Greek!

Rock on down to Electric Avenue for Greekburgh, the Greek Food Festival at Ypapanti (Presentation of Christ Greek Orthodox Church) in Olympia Hall, East Pittsburgh.

Flags from all over the world will be flying high at Greekburgh, the 29th annual Greek Food Festival runs Aug. 16, 17, 18 and 19 in East Pittsburgh, just a few minutes from Forest Hills.

Now that the Olympics are over, the foreign flags will be a gentle reminder that the Olympics began in Olympia, Greece (approximately 776 B.C.). The celebration of all things Greek is going to be a huge affair for the relatively small Greek parish.

The party includes the award-winning Greek folk dancers—the Grecian Odyssey Dancers of Ypapanti—and the Junior Olympian dancers, bedecked in regional costumes. The dancers will be accompanied by the Greek Company Orchestra performing favorites from the mainland and the islands.

Several of the dancers in the groups are from the Plum, Oakmont and Verona area.

The Rev. Father Michael Kallaur will be offering church tours during the festival. He also teaches bible classes on Greek Orthodoxy throughout the year.

But everyone comes for the food. Chicken, fish and lamb, as well as Moussaka (layers of eggplant and lamb with a frothy topping of béchamel sauce), Spanakopita (spinach surrounded by flaky layers of phyllo dough), Tiropita (a cheese pie with feta, egg and other delicious cheeses) and dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice with a rich lemony sauce) will be served. Don’t forget the salad filled with feta, tomatoes, onions and olives.

Save room for dessert. At the Greek Food Festival there is a vast array of delectable desserts. Many of the traditional pastries will be on hand, including Baklava (walnuts and phyllo dough smothered in honey syrup), Galaktoboureko (a custard filled pastry), Diples (a thin curl of dough with honey and nuts), Kataifi (a shredded wheat looking dessert), Karithopita (a walnut cake with honey) and Loukoumades (piping hot dough balls served with honey and cinnamon).

Mary Doreza, a spokesperson for the church,  said, "Everything is home made. We used 60 pounds of walnuts just in the trays of Baklava."

One hundred and thirty volunteers, working various shifts, will be on hand to keep things running smoothly.

Doreza said, "Funds are raised with fun. The festival brings in much-needed revenue that supports our programs and ministries."

She added, "We love sharing our heritage with everyone and we love that so many people want to learn about our community."

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (indoor food line closes at 9 p.m.) on Aug. 16 through 19. There is free admission and parking. Olympia Hall is at 1575 Electric Ave., East Pittsburgh.

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