With weather in the high 70s and bright blue almost cloudless skies, parishioners and visitors alike could hardly have asked for a more perfect day to celebrate their annual “Faith, Fellowship and Food” festival last Saturday at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in East Meadow.
“It was about as great a day as we could have asked for,” parish president Lorraine Babaian said. Attendance was good — “about the same as last year,” she said, when the church came near to breaking its record.
The annual fair seeks mainly to draw people from East Meadow and surrounding South Shore communities, many of whom may be unfamiliar with the Orthodox faith or unaware of the presence of an orthodox parish in their midst.
One visitor, who preferred not to be identified, was typical. “I had no idea this was even here, even though I’ve lived in the area for years and must’ve driven by it,” she said, clearly impressed.
The day’s entertainment was a combination of perennial favorites, like the virtuoso Russian/Ukrainian folk music ensemble, Baryna; and new acts, like the petting zoo, featuring pony and donkey rides, courtesy of ponies, Benito and Lolipop, and lone donkey Lola. Face and arm-painting were popular attractions, too, along with children’s carnival games of ring toss and bowling.
As always, the food stalls did a brisk business, offering such fare as spanakopita —spinach, feta cheese and filo pastry baked in a sheet — and Siberian ravioli. For the less experimentally inclined, hamburgers, hot dogs and pierogis were available in abundance. Dessert items were also in high demand, such as cinnamon-, raisin and rum-flavored babka, as well as the more prosaic brownies and chocolate chip cookies.
Nancy Geng Vassilakis, who was in charge of this year’s raffle and flea market portion of the event, said business was good — “roughly the same as last year” — but she emphasized that fundraising was only part of the annual event’s focus. “We’re here as part of our community outreach,” she said, helping the community to become acquainted with the church and its mission. “That’s at least as important as anything else we do at the festival,” she said.