When it comes to food, the annual "Taste of Greece" West Valley Greek Festival at St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church in Peoria always offers it in plentiful supplies. Last year, however, the baklava demand was so great, bakers ran out of the sweet, buttery pastry.
Lesson learned. This year, busy hands started early last week to prepare extra pans of baklava. Hungry festival patrons may not have to worry about getting their share of the treat; bakers prepared 35 pans of baklava at 64 slices per pan. That's 2,240 slices of baklava.
But there's more to the festival than baklava. The festival menu includes Grecian-style chicken and lamb dinners. Spanakopita (spinach pie), Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), Saganaki (Flaming cheese), and gyro sandwiches, which are prepared fresh daily. The palate-pleasing continues with Greek coffee and Aegean beer.
Bring your dancing shoes. Greek music and folk dancers bring the culture of the Aegean to the West Valley. Callie & Her Greek Band provide live entertainment throughout the weekend. Festival patrons are invited to join in the fun.
Taste the wine, shop for Greek import items, and enter a drawing for round-trip airline tickets for two to Athens, Greece. Other drawings will be held over the weekend.
Admission is $2. Children under 12 are admitted free with a paid adult. The festival takes place at St. Haralambos, 10320 N. 84th Ave., three blocks south of Peoria Avenue.
Festival hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Feb, 28; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. March 1; and noon to 8 p.m. March 2. Free parking is available. For more information, call (623) 486-8665, or visit www.stharalambos.org.