BROOKSVILLE — One might not be able to pronounce, much less have tasted, dishes such as pastitiso, moussaka or souvlaki. Music genres such as nisiotika, dimotika or cretika may be unfamiliar.
Sound Greek to you? Well, it is. Here's a chance to experience a slice of Greek life on Saturday at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.
The first Greek Festival, hosted by Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church, will feature music, dance groups, food, a gift shop and other activities.
"This is something we've wanted to do for years," said event chairwoman Emily Thomas. "We're a small congregation, mostly elderly. We never thought we could pull it off."
Thomas said she was inspired by a Greek festival in Belleview, a small, "elderly" community near Ocala. "They did such a great job," she recalled. "I really felt we could do this."
The reception from the congregation has been overwhelming, Thomas said, and everyone has pitched in.
The event will include professional Greek dancers from Orlando, as well as a children's dance group from the church. Dance lessons will be offered throughout the day. The event's full menu of food will be prepared by church members Trifon and Alexandra Kales.
"He (Trifon Kales) owned several restaurants in Chicago," said Rose Soulis of the parish council. "He will be doing all the food," with help from area Greek restaurants.
"And a lot has been donated by the community," Soulis said, including restaurants and merchants. "We couldn't have done this without them."
The event will also include door and auction prizes, a gift shop, baked goods and a grocery sale. The grand prize, Soulis said, is a Sea World trip for four, and includes a $100 Visa card and a one-night stay at the Radisson.
Music will be provided throughout the day by Demetri of Demetri and the Islanders, who will perform Greek and American music on several Greek instruments.
"He's pretty good," Thomas said. "We're excited to have him."
The purpose of the event is to reach out to the community. Funds raised will go toward the congregation's plans to build a new church on its property on Anderson Snow Road.
"The only complaint I'm hearing is it's just one day," Thomas said. "But we're just testing the waters. Next year, we're hoping to make it a three-day event."