LEWISTON — The best part of the Lewiston-Auburn Greek Festival?
It depends on who you ask and what time of day it happens to be.
“The food,” said Timothy Rundstrom, a 15-year-old from Lewiston. “The food is always great, especially the gyros.”
Few would disagree with Rundstrom’s assessment as dozens flocked to the festival on Hogan Road. Lines for things such as spanakopita, moussaka, pastitsio and Athenian roasted chicken started getting long at about dinnertime.
But by then, several people were gathered around the bar, too, and a some were on or headed for the dance floor.
“As the evening winds on, people are more and more likely to get out there and dance,” said Roger Park, manning the bar at about 6 p.m.
Park was serving drinks alongside Harry Simones. Together, the two bartenders in their official festival T-shirts were known as the Blues Brothers.
According to Simones, white wine was a popular choice for an early evening beverage as was Mythos beer.
“And if you want a real drink,” Simones said, “you’re going to drink Ouzo.”
Ouzo, by the way, is an unsweetened, anise-flavored Greek liqueur.
But don’t get the idea that anyone abandoned the food tables in favor of strong drink. Noshing at the Greek Festival is a constant.
“It’s always about the food,” said Jimmy Simones, one of the festival organizers.
For some, it’s the main dinner menu, heavy on beef, cheese, spinach and eggplant.
For others, it’s all about the pastry menu: baklava, kataifi, flogeres, karidopita and diples, to name a few.
The festival, centered around the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, got started at about 11 a.m. Friday and will run into Saturday night.
Now in the 16th year since the festival was revived, the crowds were big and growing bigger as the workday ended and night began to fall.
“It’s great,” Jimmy Simones said. “It’s a good turnout, the weather is fantastic and the food is fantastic. People have really been looking forward to it and they’ve been showing up. We’re very happy.”
In previous years, the festival began Thursday and ran into Saturday night. This year, the Thursday was cut out of the schedule.
“We just didn’t have the people to put it on,” Jimmy Simones said, “so we had to conserve our resources and go with two days.”
Let’s be honest, though. A lot of baklava sundaes can be eaten over the course of two days.
The festival also offers Greek music, drinks, artifacts and related items for sale, including dishware and cookbooks.
For more information about the festival, including complete menus, visit lagreekfestival.com.
Vaughn Morin, 2, and her cousin, Swindon Morin, 2, get a front row seat for the dancing at the Lewiston-Auburn Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lewiston on Friday evening. The festival continues Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Sherry Beck-Poland, left, and Doreen Beck-Poland of Lewiston look over the menu while waiting in line for food at the Lewiston-Auburn Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lewiston on Friday evening. The festival continues on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
David LeGloahec serves loukoumades to Timothy Rundstrom, far left, and Jase Cunningham during the Lewiston-Auburn Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lewiston on Friday evening. Loukoumades are Greek pastries served with honey and cinnamon. The festival continues Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Stefan Kroger is one of the many volunteers for the Lewiston-Auburn Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lewiston this weekend. The festival continues Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)