Oakmont prepares for 50th Greek food festival

Andy Gavrilos has seen it all during his time as co-chair of the Oakmont Greek Food Festival.

From tornadoes, thunderstorms and fires, to a power outage that caused volunteers and parishioners of the Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church to cook by candlelight.

“At the end of the day, you deal with what life throws at you,” Gavrilos said. “It gives you an opportunity to work with or next to somebody that you haven’t before.”

His mindset about challenges hasn’t changed as he and the other committee members prepare to kick off the 50th anniversary of the food festival June 28. The festival runs through June 30.

Gavrilos said the committee chose to stick with the classic celebration of traditional food and live dancing for the milestone festival. Two changes include a strolling violinist and the fan favorite, Baklava Sunday, that will make a return after being canceled in 2020.

Out of the 50 past festivals, Gavrilos said, he either has chaired or co-chaired about 35 of them.

“It’s a great opportunity for our parish and our parishioners to get together, have some fun and share our culture,” Gavrilos said. “Food and entertainment are a part of (our culture), and this showcases them.”

Over the years, the festival has grown so big the church has to look outside its ranks for help and volunteers. This has slowly integrated other community members such as local businesses, Riverview School District students and local organizations into the festival.

“I still get excited for it each year,” Gavrilos said.

The festival will be hosted at the Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church on Washington Avenue. Food will be served each day from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Dancing and music will continue until 11 each night.

Haley Daugherty is a TribLive reporter covering local politics, feature stories and Allegheny County news. A native of Pittsburgh, she lived in Alabama for six years. She joined the Trib in 2022 after graduating from Chatham University. She can be reached at hdaugherty@triblive.com.

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