Summer was in full swing, and the smell of Greek cuisine filled Bell Road.
It was a two-day family affair Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23, at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church’s annual Greek For A Day again this year in Homer Glen, where Greeks and non-Greeks alike enjoyed good food, entertainment and each other’s company.
The festival provided an opportunity for the parish not only to show the community of Homer Glen and surrounding areas what the Greek Orthodox Church is about, but also share a taste of Greek tradition through cuisine and entertainment.
“This time around, we added Grecian rotisseries chicken,” said the rev. Sotirios “Father Sam” Dimitriou, of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. “That’s being offered. We’ve added a small carnival [for the] first time for the children. [It’s] something different, and we hope to expand on that.”
Festival-goers also enjoyed face painting, iconography, music and a live performance by Hellenic Cathedral Dancers of Merrilville.
Janet Woods sat at a table mingling with her husband waiting for the rest of her family to arrive.
“It smells very good,” she said of the Greek cuisine.
The festival provides a nice way to bring the family together, Woods added.
“[My daughter is] bringing her family and her in-laws and maybe even the other brother and sister and their kids,” Woods said.
This year was Woods’ first time attending the festival, and she said she was impressed.
“There’s nothing else like it that I know of out here, either,” she said. ‘They have a lot of Greek festivals closer into the city. Out this way, I don’t know too many. So, [it’s a way to] let people experience it all.”
Rick Duba said he was glad he decided to drop in for a taste of Greece.
“The Grecian chicken, I do [like] a lot,” he said. “I [often] go down to Greek Town in Chicago.”
This year was also Duba’s first time attending the festival, and he said it does a nice job of bringing a taste of Greece to Homer Glen.
“You don’t have to drive so far,” Duba said. “It’s pretty nice—nice music [and] everything.”
Duba added that he is interested in returning to the festival next year.
Dimitriou said seeing the way the community comes together for Greek For A Day is wonderful.
“Every year, we get a lot of good feedback about the food and about the event,” Dimitriou said. “Plus, we bring in different vendors. This time, we have different jewelers. One is a Greek jeweler, and what I mean by Greek is they have Greek-style jewelry.”
The secret to the event’s ability to bring people together is simple, said Michael Bradaric, president of parish counsel.
“It’s really the people and the food,” he said. “I think that for our people, a lot of this festival and stuff really is kind of a family reunion. People will come from different parishes and counties to this festival to check-in on their people that live in Homer Glen or Lemont or New Lenox.”
“It’s a chance, too, instead of running sometimes [or] going to the Greek restaurants downtown, it’s a lot closer for them to come here to get Greek food,” Dimitrious said. “Like Pastitsio—‘Greek lasagna’—it’s something new we added to the menu from last year, and it was a big hit. So, we kept it for the menu this year. It’s an opportunity again for people to come and try the Loukoumades—our fried honey dough. You don’t get those anywhere, so you get them at Greek fests. Same thing, you know, it’s an opportunity for people to come on the property, and they can [try] some of these different Greek foods.”