Opa! It’s Greek Festival time [video]

With bright sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70’s, even the Greek gods could not have planned a better start for the Holy Trinity Greek Festival in downtown Wilmington, now in it’s 38th year. 

“We have people who’ve come here and say, ‘Hey I met my husband, I met my wife here at the festival.’ It’s a wonderful tradition, you know, to kick off the summer here in Wilmington,” said festival organizer Spiros Mantzavinos.

Preparations for the five-day community-wide celebration began in January, with this year’s focus on the Greek island of Chios. Home to beautiful beaches and ancient castles, Mantzavinos hopes festival-goers will walk away with a taste of the Old Country.

“We like to bring just a little of Greece here to Wilmington,” Mantzavinos said. “So what people can expect is some very authentic Greek food, authentic Greek music, you’ll see children dancing in authentic Greek costumes.”

Food is a huge part of the Greek culture with something for everyone, including lamb sandwiches and Greek staples like spanakopita, mousakas, dolmades and, of course, baklava.

“There’s a word in Greek called, ‘kefi,’ and it’s just the environment that we create, that we all get together – family and friends – enjoy each other’s company, enjoy life and just take a moment to step back and just be thankful and grateful for the friends and family that we have around us and create a good time,” Mantzavinos said.

Greek and Latin teacher, Martin Gassler, is a festival regular. Gassler says the food, the music and dancing bring him back year after year.

“I still have never had the guts to actually join in any of the circle dances, but I enjoy watching that. So it’s this and the Italian festival I definitely look forward to every year. I go multiple nights to both, and I always come away satisfied.”

Maybe this will be the year when Gassler jumps in.  

All proceeds benefit the church. The festival runs through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The rain or shine event is free and open to the public. The parish also offers a lunch shuttle from downtown Wilmington to the church located on Broom Street between 8th and 9th Streets, as well as curbside pickup from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

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