POCATELLO — Community members will soon have a chance to get their “Greek on for a day.”
Pocatello’s annual Greek Festival is set to take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church grounds, located in the area of North Fifth Avenue and East Wyeth Street.
Father Constantine Zozos calls the event the largest ethnic festival in Southeast Idaho, and he believes it offers the “best Greek food this side of Athens.”
“You cannot find better Greek than at our festival,” Zozos said. “Everything is prepared with love in our commercial kitchen. We take pride in that.”
There’s no admission cost for the popular festival, but there will be a variety of tasty Greek foods for sale.
This year’s menu includes dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), salads, spanakopita (spinach pies), gyro sandwiches, loukániko (Greek sausage), roasted leg of lamb and pastichio (Greek lasagna), among other dishes.
“There is something for everyone, whether you are a meat lover or a vegetarian,” Zozos said. “We have great Greek salads.”
They’re also making between 15,000 and 20,000 pastry pieces for the festival. Zozos said they will have chocolate baklava this year along with the regular baklava. They’re also bringing back their baklava sundaes, which come with with vanilla ice cream, baklava shavings and chocolate syrup.
While the food is enough of a draw, the festival offers some fun entertainment, too.
Attendees will be able to enjoy Greek music and dance performances during the event. They can also take a tour of the century-old church that features beautiful iconography, Zozos said.
“It’s spectacular, one of a kind,” Zozos said.
Although the church hosts the event each year, Zozos says many people in the community play a part in the festival. They have more than 70 sponsors for the event.
“They’re very generous, and they help us meet our goals. We appreciate that,” Zozos said.
The proceeds from this year’s festival will go toward upgrading the church’s historic social hall.
The building was once an officer’s club at the Pocatello Army Airfield, a World War II training base that existed where the airport is now, according to Wikipedia.
Zozos has said the building was moved from the airport to the church grounds more than 70 years ago.
He encourages people to bring their families to the upcoming festival to not only support a good cause, but to also enjoy some tasty food, have some fun and get to know their community neighbors.
“We look forward to everyone being Greek for a day,” Zozos said.