The Hippo


Jul 15, 2019









When: Friday, Sept. 18, through Sunday, Sept. 20. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Where: St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 650 Hanover St., Manchester
Food is priced per item. Free admission and shuttle service is available from McDonough School and Derryfield Park.

Greek eats at Glendi
Manchester festival celebrates 36 years

By Allie Ginwala

Since 1980, St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral has provided the Manchester community with an annual weekend of good times — literally. Glendi, the three-day festival held this year from Friday, Sept. 18, through Sunday, Sept. 20, means “good times,” and it’s one of the oldest Greek festivals to take root in the Queen City.

“It’s basically like night and day,” Glendi co-chairperson George Copadis said, comparing the early years of Glendi to the current festival. “When it was started in 1980 it was basically the parish that participated with some outsiders, but now it’s an event that’s grown to about 30,000 people that attend over the three-day weekend.”
William Kanteres, long time St. George’s member and former church vice president, recalled the moment he was inspired to try and bring a Greek food festival to Manchester. He went to a Greek festival in Springfield, Mass., while visiting his son, came back and told the church president his idea about starting something similar. Along with his fellow parishioners and family, Kanteres helped put the first Glendi into motion.
“Nobody knew what festivals were, and then the following year or the second year the Assumption [Greek Orthodox] Church decided to have a festival,” he said in a phone interview. “And the next thing you know it started all over the place. It just kept growing and growing and look what it is today.”
In the early years of Glendi, a group of women in the church would start making the meal two months in advance and store it in the church freezers. Now, food production begins in June and on a much larger scale.
“We ended up having to expand the kitchen,” Copadis said. “[To] add stoves and refrigerators and ... we had to add two walk-in units for the amount of food that’s prepared for the festival.”
All of the food for the festival is prepared over the summer by a diligent group of parishioners.
“They work all summer long,” he said. “They cook huge quantities of food.”
This year, St. George’s will make 5,000 dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), 4,000 meatballs, 8,000 pieces of spinach pita and 800 pounds of rice. 
The rest of the menu for Glendi features tried and true dishes that guests come to eat year after year, like stuffed peppers, barbecued or baked lamb shank, loukoumades (fried dough soaked in syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar), kataifi (shredded filo with walnuts and syrup), baklava, ravani (cake made with farina and soaked in syrup), gyros, loukaniko (Greek sausage) and baklava. Greek wine and beer will also be available along with this year’s new menu item — chicken souvlaki. 
“We thought we’d try something different for a change,” Copadis said. “It’s seasoned chicken with lettuce and onion and tzatziki sauce which is wrapped in pita bread.”
Food can be purchased a la carte or as a full meal, pastries by the piece or as a box to take home. 
Other features include imports and jewelry from Greece for sale, along with handicraft items like sweaters and hats made by women in the church. Church tours will also be offered.
Keeping up with the atmosphere that’s like “going to Greece in Manchester, NH,” Kostas Taslis Orchestra will perform on Saturday from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and the Boston Lykeion Ellinidon Greek Dance Troupe will perform at 5 and 7 p.m. DJ Meleti will be at the festival all three days. 
“[It’s] a guaranteed good time and good food,” Copadis said. “They can go under the big tent on the Hanover Street side and go into the community center with a pastry booth set up in front of the stage and they can buy pastries there and then dance off the calories.”
Decades ago when Kanteres saw the first Glendi take place in Manchester, he hoped it would serve the purpose of celebrating Greek culture, “to show people what Greek people can do.”
“I want people to know how great the Greek people [and food] were,” he said.

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