Want a mouth-watering recipe? Start with about 900 pounds of butter and 1,300 pounds of flour and sugar. Gather around 355 pounds of nuts, 610 pounds of pasta, and 308 gallons of milk. Add 1,200 pounds of ground beef, 610 pounds of phyllo dough, and a year of planning. Donate it all – plus about 9,000 chicken thighs – to volunteer cooks and bakers who spend hundreds of hours creating delicious dishes.
Ready to eat? Welcome to the 64th Annual Greek Bazaar of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, November 5-6.
“We give back to the community,” says Spencer Phillips, church president and Lancaster physician. “They see who we are, and we see who they are.”
A third of all profits are donated to local charities. Alexandra Schramm, who has co-chaired the bazaar since 2012, estimates the event gave away about $60,000 last year to area organizations, such as the Lancaster County Food Hub.
Additionally, the money raised pays for a church-sponsored grocery giveaway every other Thursday and for gift cards that go to those in need. “It’s really about helping us help the community,” says Schramm.
The church will once again operate a four-lane drive-thru in its parking lot at 64 Hershey Avenue.
The festival transformed into its current mode in 2020 due to the pandemic. Church members considered holding an open event on site this year, but decided in July to keep the bazaar outdoors.
The festival, however, means much more than a fundraiser for church members.
“People grew up like kids doing that,” Schramm says.
Andrea Phillips, the wife of the church president, has attended most festivals in her nearly 64 years. His mother, Nena Valavanes, ran pastry chefs until her death about 10 years ago. Phillips, who helped his mother at the bazaar while she was growing up, quickly took over the task.
“It’s a family affair,” the Lititz resident says, noting that her eldest grandson, now 6, is mature enough to carry containers of honeyballs from the basement kitchen of the hotel. church to the main kitchen.
Christine Speros was 19 and fresh out of high school when she attended the first bazaar in 1958. Speros’ mother and other women made Greek pastries at home, but the main dishes consisted of hot dogs, burgers and sandwiches. “All the young people were involved,” she recalls.
Speros, now 83, still volunteers by picking and preparing grape leaves. “It’s a way of giving back,” she says.
The Greek Bazaar also offers a way to connect people and build relationships.
“It’s a wonderful camaraderie, especially after the pandemic,” notes Speros. “We have women in their 90s who come with walkers” to volunteer.
“We have a lot of fun together,” says Helen Hazatones, who bakes honey balls (loukoumathes). Hazatones started as a honey ball runner when she was around 8 years old. As an adult, she remembers meeting with her sisters and other volunteers in the church’s basement kitchen, which had enough space to let their young children play nearby while cooking. . Many of these young adults will volunteer during the bazaar.
On a more serious note, Andrea Phillips credits the bazaar with her ability to walk. She contracted a staph infection as a Lancaster newborn, and by the time doctors diagnosed her, Phillips’ left side had been damaged.
Unable to walk on her own, Phillips wore leg braces while her parents carried her. When she was 3, Phillips caught the eye of a Washington DC-based physical therapist who came over for the mess. This woman recommended that Phillips see a surgeon in the nation’s capital.
Several operations followed. “I remember walking before I was in kindergarten,” Phillips recalls. “I have an emotional attachment to the bazaar.”
The two-day event begins Saturday, November 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday hours run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Each $17 ticket will buy a platter of Greek pastries or a platter of Greek chicken. leg, pastitsio, a kind of lasagna; spanakopita, a spinach and cheese pastry; Greek salad and a bun.
Drive-thru customers can also purchase frozen items a la carte, such as yiaprakia, grape leaves stuffed with meat, spices and rice; pastitsio, moussaka and spanakopita and a variety of desserts.
The bazaar will occupy the church parking lot at 64 Hershey Ave. in Lancaster. Online orders will be accepted until 10 p.m. on November 4 at the announcement