There are two times in life when “being Greek” is more a state of mind than a nationality or religious affiliation: college rush week and the annual Lewiston/Auburn Greek Festival.

Lucky for Greek-aspiring folks in Maine, next weekend’s festival isn’t restricted to the college-bound.

“Once a year, everyone is Greek,” is the motto for the food-centric event, hosted by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lewiston.

The event was originally launched in the 1980s, but fizzled out after a decade due to a lack of interest, according to David Rivet, event chairman for this year’s festival. “Five or six years ago, at a Greek wedding, we said, ‘Let’s pull it back together again.’ And we have.

“We do it for the community,” Rivet said. “And we also do it for ourselves.”

The festival gives the church the opportunity to get back to tradition, according to Rivet. “It’s desserts, meals, spinach pie made from scratch. We’re maintaining what your grandmother did.”

Even the most capable kitchen grannies, though, would struggle to prepare the 3,000 to 4,000 meals Rivet expects the festival will serve this year. That kind of effort requires many hands — and close to 200 pounds of ground beef.

“Here’s the best part — we get help,” said Rivet. “DaVinci’s (Eatery in Lewiston) allows us to use some of their equipment. Bates College allows us to use one of their big institutional mixers. People help us that’s what makes this community very wonderful.”

That’s why the entire community is welcome to come by Thursday, Friday and Saturday to sample the traditional Greek food, join in some Greek dancing and take a tour of the church.

“The festival brings all walks of life. That’s the key,” said Rivet. “It shares the background with cooking, dancing, socializing. It strengthens us as a church.”

The festival opens Thursday evening from 4 to 8 p.m. with plenty of food being served under the tents outside. There’s also a bazaar where pastries and traditional Greek coffee will be sold.

Attendees can browse the artifacts, icons, paintings and bookstore or join Father Ted for a tour of the church.

The taverna will be open and serving beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres to folks over the age of 21, alongside live music all three nights. Festival attendees can learn steps to Greek dances, thanks to church members who are offering the lessons. On Saturday, a youth dance group from Portland will provide some lively entertainment.

Festival hours for Friday and Saturday are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and admission is free all three days of the event.

Everyone is welcome, according to Rivet. Folks don’t have to be Greek to eat Greek.

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 791-6333 or at:

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