The Oakmont Greek Food Festival is back with a more substantial layout and menu.
This marks the 48th year of the festival, presented by the Dormition of Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church at 12 Washington Ave.
Food will be served from noon to 9 p.m. June 24-26. Live music and entertainment are expected to continue until 11 a.m. each evening.
Event co-chair Andy Gavrilos said organizers had combined some of the aspects used during the pandemic with a more traditional layout that fans of the three-day fundraiser celebration might recognize.
“We’re getting back closer to our pre-covid format, but we’re implementing some things that we’ve learned over the last two years,” Gavrilos said. “We had to guard against a possible resurgence. This year, it’s a bit of a hybrid model.
The layout includes a large tent up front and more outdoor seating to complement indoor dining in the main hall. The pastries and honey balls will be in their traditional location, in the building across from the main lobby.
There will be three lines in the main hall for people to order everything except desserts, including gyros. Previous festivals featured a separate gyro line.
Signature dinners such as Chicken Alexis, Lamb Shanks, Pork Souvlaki and Legendary Church Gyros will be available while supplies last. Beef meatballs, green beans and rice pudding are back on the menu.
Returning desserts after a brief hiatus include apricot baklava; kataife, a mixture of nuts wrapped in shredded filo and baked; galatoboureko, a custard treat baked in filo; and kourambiethes, butter cookies topped with powdered sugar.
Also on the table will be pastry variety packs, a prepackaged selection of crowd favorites made in recent years to help takeout during the pandemic.
Planning for the festival began in January. Supply chain issues and inflation have impacted the festival. because most items cost $1 more than last year.
“Anyone who’s been to a grocery store can see what the prices have done,” Gavrilos said. “We did what we could to keep prices at last year’s levels, but obviously we had to increase some of them. It costs a lot more to get things.
Online ordering and curbside pickup are available. People must order by 8 p.m. the day before pickup. More information is available at us.orderspoon.com/oakmont-greekfest-online.
Customers can also purchase frozen half pans of spanakopita and pastitso. Each has at least 12 servings.
Tens of thousands of people have visited Oakmont for previous festivals. Gavrilos said he wasn’t sure what to expect this time around.
“We’re expecting a nice crowd,” Gavrilos said. “I don’t know if it will be 2019 levels, but I think it will be closer to that than last year. There are still people nervous about going out.
“Our expectation is that we are going to have a successful festival. All we’ve heard from people is that they’re thrilled that we’re getting back closer to normal. We look forward to seeing everyone again. »
Cash transactions are prohibited. Debit or credit cards will be accepted.
Among the thrills of the festival, besides the food, are the performances of Greek Odyssey dancers and junior Greek stars.
One person with whom parishioners and others will unfortunately not celebrate is the late Peter Papadakos.
Treasurer and longtime member of the Grecian Odyssey Dancers, Papadakos of East Pittsburgh died Jan. 14 of complications from covid and pneumonia. He was 66 years old.
Papadakos was a singer and head of the church’s music department.
Gavrilos said he would definitely be on people’s minds.
“Oakmont was his church,” Gavrilos said. “He has done many things not only for our church, but for other churches in the area as well as our Diocese of Pittsburgh. The dance group has already suffered losses. Probably not to the extent of Peter’s loss, but as we know the show has to go on when you’re in this business. Peter will be truly missed. I’m sure he will be on everyone’s mind.
There may be special recognition for Papadakos at the festival.
More information about the event is available at dormitionpgh.org or by calling 412-828-4144.