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Smaller Greek Fest still draws big crowd in Merrillville

Eileen Vogel left Bessie Vogel show some pastries they plan take home from mini Greek Fest Saints Constantine Helen Greek

Eileen Vogel, left, and Bessie Vogel show some of the pastries they plan to take home from the mini Greek Fest at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Friday. | Karen Caffarini/For the Post-Tribune

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Updated: December 4, 2013 6:37AM



MERRILLVILLE — Bessie Vogel and her mother-in-law Eileen Vogel finished their Athenian chicken dinners Friday and had several more meals and a variety of pastries boxed up and ready to go.

“I’m not cooking tonight and I’m not cooking tomorrow, either,” said Bessie Vogel, of Hammond.

The two women were among a steady stream of people dining on homemade Greek food and pastries at Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Merrillville Friday afternoon, the first day of a two-day mini Greek fest.

Bessie Vogel said she grew up attending the cathedral and when she heard it was having a mini-fest, she had to come.

Eileen Vogel, of Highland, was not sorry she came along.

“The chicken was very, very good,” Eileen Vogel said.

One woman, who said she was from Illinois, was picking out pastries to take with her. She said she read about the fest in the newspaper and had to make a stop for some of the sweets.

The mini fest continues from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday at the cathedral, 8000 Madison St., Merrillville.

Unlike the Greek Fest held every summer, this mini fest focuses solely on food, with chicken, lamb and Greek lasagne (pastichio) dinners available on Saturday, as well as a Greek salad. A fish dinner was available on Friday only.

The lamb dinner is $14, the pastichio and chicken dinners are $10 and the salad is $5.

There also is face-painting for kids and a table set up where kids can make their own baklava sundaes.

William Dovellos, a co-chair of the event, said he was happy with the lunch crowd. He said some businesses took advantage of the ability to call the church with orders and have them ready for pick-up.

He said all proceeds from the mini fest will go to the church’s general fund, then divvied out among its various ministries, including the Ross Township Food Pantry, youth groups and shelters.

For Diane Salawda, Nicole Bondurant and Sarah Kelaita, all of Merrillville, the fest was another opportunity to get out and meet with other people in a group they belong to, Ladies Timeout.

“We came here today as part of our social time,” Bondurant said.

Salawda pulled up the app on her phone to check her schedule; lunch at Greek fest on Friday, learn how to use essential oils in Valparaiso on Saturday.

“I’m from New York City and have been here since May. The first two months I did everything by myself, then I joined this group,” Salawda said.



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