David LeGloahec tends to some loukoumades (Greek doughnuts) at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on Saturday. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — The annual three-day Lewiston-Auburn Greek Festival came to a close Saturday evening with dancing, wine and beer from the taverna, and lots and lots of food.

The festival, which first launched in 1978 and was revived in 2003 after a dormant period, “has been really great,” festival Chairwoman Melissa Simones Landry said.

Like his great-grandfather, George Simones is a chanter and welcomes visitors to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lewiston where tours were taking place during the last day of the annual Greek Festival on Saturday. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“Our turnout on Friday was amazing, and it’s been really good so far today,” Landry said.

The festival, held beneath several tents set up in the parking lot of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, started off slow Saturday afternoon as rain and cloudy skies held off patrons. But as the clouds parted and the sun came out, people began pouring in to get a taste of some of the Greek food, including gyros, souvlaki, lamb shank and spanakopita, pastries and Greek coffee.

Tatyana Johnson of Lewiston, a Ukraine native who moved to Maine from Alabama five years ago, was overseeing the loukoumades booth, which translates to “honey puffs.”

Loukoumades are dollops of resin dough that have been fried, dipped in honey-lemon syrup and sprinkled with crushed walnuts and cinnamon.

Johnson’s booth, which she said she has helped run since moving to Maine, saw a lot of foot traffic Saturday afternoon, as did the pastry booth near the entrance to the festival, which was offering everything from baklava to kataifi, a popular Greek almond and walnut pastry.

The Treasure Trove is a favorite of visitors to the annual Greek Festival in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Christine Rattey of Brunswick said the baked goods were made by several volunteers and local Greek bakeries.

“It’s a real group effort,” said Rattey, who has been attending Holy Trinity church for the past 20 years.

Jaye Goulet and Dina Medouris were in charge of the Greek coffee booth. They explained that Greek coffee differed from regular coffee in the way the coffee beans were ground.

“It’s ground up really fine, sort of like hot chocolate,” Goulet said. “Then it’s mixed with sugar. After you drink the coffee, it leaves a sediment at the bottom of the cup.”

For Rattey, seeing the excitement on people’s faces as they dip their toes into Greek culture for the first time is her favorite part of the festival.

“We get people from Ogunquit, from Rhode Island, from all over the place,” Rattey said. “People love it.”

Johnson agreed, adding that while the Greek food is always a big draw for the festival, it’s the “atmosphere of the festival that keeps people coming back.”

“Everyone is so nice and you get to learn all kinds of things about Greek life,” Johnson said. “I think that’s the best part.”

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Amelia Wiseman makes bubbles at the Kids Tent play area at the Greek Festival in Lewiston on Saturday. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

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