PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — One of Pensacola’s most popular festivals is Greek Fest. It was Covid-canceled last year. This year, the Greek community brainstormed and came up with an alternate way to share their food and culture into the community.
Members of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church are getting together to bring the one day “My Big Fat Greek Takeout Day” to the Pensacola community.
87-year-old Nina Stamatelos and her daughter Athena Staviski talked with us about the take-out day as they stood shoulder to shoulder in Nina’s kitchen making Greek pastries. They talked about the importance of Greek food in their culture.
“So much happens around the table. Food is a huge part of their (the Greek community) joy, their happiness, their celebration,” said Staviski as she rolled dough and checked pastries cooking in the oven.
“The family, we are together. We cook together,” added Stamatelos.
Stamatelos was born on the Greek island of Skopelos and emigrated to America when she married. She and Athena speak Greek to each other almost exclusively. Staviski says it’s important to keep the Greek culture, language and authentic recipes alive.
“Sometimes I’ll be right behind her writing out a recipe trying to follow and trying to guestimate the measurements because she does it just from the top of her head,” said Staviski.
Part of keeping Greek culture alive and thriving has included the annual Pensacola Greek Festival. But after a year of Covid-filled year, organizers were uncertain they could staff and supply the festival. “My Big Fat Greek Take Out Day” seemed a fun and doable alternative.
“We just want to try to share what we can, limited this year,” said Staviski. The limited menu will be cooked in the church kitchen by volunteers and will feature items like pastitsios, spanakopita, Greek green beans, and pastries.
Individual takeout dinners will be sold at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on June 5th first-come, first-served from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. or until they will sell out.
Staviski says the church and volunteers believe it’s important to continue tradition even in this limited fashion, because of the mutual love between the church and the community.
“Whether they are Greek or not, when they come to the Greek festival, I think they have a passion and they feel that they are one with all of us, or at least we try to make them feel that way,” said Staviski, adding she hopes this take-out day will not only be about food, but also about “faith and hope for better times.”
For more information about this one-day event, follow this link.