ELMHURST – The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Demetrios will host its 51st annual Taste of Greece festival from June 15 to 17 on its church grounds in Elmhurst.
The weekend will highlight various parts of Greek culture, including food, dancing and music.
Chris Kontos and Dominick Vassos are co-chairmen of the event and members of the church's parish council.
Kontos said the event began, in part, as a way for Greek immigrant families to come together, and it also was an opportunity to fundraise to build the church.
The event, which began as a very small festival, continued to grow as an opportunity to keep families close and for people of the area to enjoy Greek culture, Vassos said.
"It's that fellowship time that is important for all of us," Kontos said.
Vassos added the event gives families a chance to come together, and it's one of the first Greek festivals of the calendar year in the Chicago suburbs.
"A lot of people look forward to spending time with us over the Father's Day weekend," he said.
This year, musical entertainment will include 7th Heaven, which will perform the evening of June 15, and disc jockey Sounds of Greece, and traditional Greek music of both the Grecian islands and the mainland will be sung the night of June 17.
Food and beverage offerings will include Greek wine and beer, pastries, coffee, gyros, octopus, calamari and shish kebobs, Kontos said. Some desserts that are slated to be served are koulourakia, or butter cookies; diples, or honey- and nut-drizzled fried dough spirals; loukoumades, or traditional fried honey puffs; and baklava, or layers of phyllo dough, chopped walnuts and cinnamon drenched in syrup.
There also will be a raffle with a grand prize of $10,000 as a fundraiser for the parish, Vassos said.
Vendors at the event will sell Greek jewelry and music, among other items, he said. There also will be a fundraiser for a Greek child in Detroit, Mich., who is in need of a bone marrow transplant.
Attendees can tour the church, which was built at the site in 1981 and renovated in 2012. The church has a Byzantine look with chandeliers, pews and iconography, Vassos said.
"Just come out and see us. You won't be disappointed with the food and the fellowship, the music," he said. "The fest is a great way for people to come together."
If you go
WHAT: 51st annual Taste of Greece
WHEN: 11 a.m. to midnight June 15, 3 p.m. to midnight June 16, noon to midnight June 17
WHERE: The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Demetrios, 893 N. Church Road, Elmhurst