Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Greek Festival offers weekend of fun, food

By Natalia Mielczarek • THE TENNESSEAN • September 8, 2009 The Greeks are all about three Fs, Emily Yoanidis said: family, friends and faith. They express their love for the trio with another F: food. This weekend’s 22nd Greek Food Festival is a good example, she said. “The Greek life is basically about family and hospitality around strangers. When the Greeks like you, they really like you,” said Yoanidis, who helped put the event together this year. “The festival is also very much about faith. We have an extraordinary number of nonGreek converts in this community, and many have come to our church through the Greek Festival.” The annual tradition is the biggest fundraiser for the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on Franklin Pike. The three-day event, beginning Friday, Sept. 11, features Greek food, wine, traditional dancing, church tours and outdoors fun for children. Almost all dishes have been made by Greek mothers and grandmothers in the church’s kitchen, Yoanidis said. When Sonny Mooney helped organize the first festival more than two decades ago, he had an inkling that it could take off like it has over the years, he said. “We’ve seen the success of it in bigger communities like Chicago and Atlanta,” he said. “People seem to be interested in the Greek culture and come. The Greek Orthodox religion is also of some interest. And with so many information sources now, Greek food is more well-known now.” About 200 families attend the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Yoanidis said, but not all have Greek roots. Yoanidis said, laughing, that she became Greek through marriage. ABOUT THE CHURCH The first Greek Orthodox settlers came to Nashville from other U.S. cities in the mid-1880s. By 1917, the growing community was inviting priests from other cities to celebrate liturgy and other services, but the cost became prohibitive. That year, the group raised enough money to buy property on 6th Avenue downtown, the former Wallace School and was officially named Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. In 1986, the church moved to its current Franklin Pike location, and the new sanctuary was built five years later. Source: http://www.holytrinitynashville.org/.

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