June 26, 2010

So, what's your favorite part of our annual Greek Festival?

Lots of folks start with the gyros... nothing wrong with that

 There are some who say they go to Racine's annual Greek Festival for the music and dancing, the costumes  and tradition. After all, this is the festival's 45th year.

Others, undoubtedly, go for the midway, the funnel cakes, the carnival; why else would the gaudy rides be so full of laughing children and adults?

Still others go for the traditional Greek food -- standing in long, but good-natured lines for gyros or lamb dinners.

But let's be honest; most of us go for the pastry! The lines are longest, always, by the tent dispensing Loukoumathes, better known as Honey Puffs. Six for $3, or 13 for $5. No decision to make there at all -- just hand the girl a fiver and make room for the next person in line.

Now, after eating a puff or two or three, take your platter inside, where the real pastry is dispensed: the baklava, melomacarona, kourambiethes, samale, paximathia, floyers, kataifi... Heck no, I don't know what they all are -- but they look soooo tempting. Just try to get away without sampling two or three, or taking four or five home for later (but not much later, I bet.)

I ran into Tom Savas, festival co-chairman, as I was wandering around the grounds Friday night. Told him I could feel my arteries closing, even before eating a single pastry (that would have to wait until Saturday). He reassured me, they're all made with the finest natural ingredients: butter, not oil; cane sugar, honey...

OK, I'm reassured.

Greek Festival continues from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday at Kimisis Tis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Church, 1335 S. Green Bay Rd. Don't say you weren't warned if you get there and they're all out of baklava.

Kids have the most fun dancing

The Midway has plenty of death-defying rides for young and old

Who can resist the funnel cakes?

But let's admit it: Honey Puffs are a big draw...

...We watch them come out of the deep fryer...

...and carefully show our kids how to put the sugar on 'em...

And then we go inside, where all the other mouth-watering Greek pastries are sold!