Greek Festival Days
For the past 32 years Carbon County has been enlightened with the joys of the Greek Festival Days. This festival has become an integral part of the church and community life since its inception and is today the chief fund raiser project for the church.
Started by Priest Father John Zannidachis, from Texas in 1975, he brought his expertise on festival production to this area, where he was in charge of the Houston, Texas festival.
The original festival was not open to the public; attendees had to purchase tickets in advance. This dinner banquet was a formal type dinner, with a Greek orchestra for dancing and entertainment. For this event food was prepared at the church and transported to the festival location.
As the Festival grew in size and attendance, changes had to be made. In 1985 a covered pavilion was added to the church, and the first large oven was donated to the church by the owner of the Towne Bakery. A fire had destroyed his business; the owner of the bakery being of Greek heritage gave them the oven. Since then, a second oven has been installed to replace the original.
Greek cooking is an art, the festival and food is considered to be one of the best cultural celebrations in Southeastern Utah. The community as well as surrounding cities all look forward to the Greek Festival. The Greek dancers all come from Salt Lake City. There are three different groups affiliated with the Church. The senior group that performs pays their own way out of the goodness of heart according to festival entertainment director and PR administrator Connie Hamilton.
Penni Sampinos local who is in charge of the greek coffee shop upstairs commented that some of those closest to the festival have a different outlook toward the food.
"We love the food it's our heritage but by the time the festival is over we can't wait for the hamburgers on Saturday," laughs Sampinos.
Father Athanasios summed up the festivals impact in the community.
"By spotlighting our Greek Culture through the festival, we able to raise money to help support needy families, youth projects, charities, the development of the community and other philanthropic endeavors. The funds are also used to maintain the quality of our parish in order to remain on the National Historic Register," said Father Emmert.