The Hippo


May 30, 2020









When: Friday, Sept. 15, and Saturday, Sept. 16, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with food services ending at 9 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 650 Hanover St., Manchester
Cost: Free admission; food is priced per item
Free parking will be available at Derryfield Park (Bridge Street) and at the McDonough Elementary School (550 Lowell St.). Shuttle services will be available throughout the day on Friday and Saturday from the parking lot at Bridge and Highland streets to the church.

Get to Glendi
Authentic eats at three-day Greek food festival

By Matt Ingersoll

 Lamb shanks so big they look like dinosaur bones, thousands of Greek meatballs and dozens of kinds of Greek pastries covering at least five tables are all on the menu at Glendi, one of the Granite State’s largest and longest-running Greek food festivals.

The festival attracts thousands and is returning for the 38th year to Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Manchester from Friday, Sept. 15, through Sunday, Sept. 17. Glendi, which means “good times” in Greek, has become a major fundraiser for the church and features dozens of traditionally made dishes by church members and volunteers.
“It’s become so established and well-known over the years that it’s become very intertwined with the people who are part of our community,” said Frank Comerford, president of the church’s board of directors and festival chairman. “We’ve got everyone from private citizens and business sponsors to all the TV stations, U.S. senators and other politicians. Everybody wants to be associated with Glendi.”
This year’s event includes several returning favorites, like the lamb shanks, which are cooked in a tomato sauce with onions, and the marinated chicken, baked with Grecian herbs.
“The lamb shanks are a tremendous size — they look like a dinosaur’s leg bone,” Comerford said. “You get a whole big drumstick of lamb shank either a la carte or as a dinner, and that’s very popular.”
Comerford said between 1,500 and 2,000 Greek meatballs will also be prepared, as well as stuffed peppers with rice and meat, dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves rolled with rice and meat), a Greek lasagna dish called pastichio that is made with a creamy cheese sauce, spanakopita (phyllo dough with spinach and cheese) and a Greek salad made with a vinegar and oil herb dressing.
All of the main food items can be bought as dinners — which come with a Greek salad, a side of rice pilaf and a dinner roll — or a la carte.
“People can kind of make their own meal,” Comerford said. “For example, you can buy a lamb shank separately and then get a piece of pastichio or a stuffed pepper on the side if you don’t want what comes with the dinners.”
Recently added menu items, Comerford said, include the chicken souvlaki, wrapped in pita brand and prepared with lettuce, red onion and tzatziki sauce, which is made with a mix of yogurt and cucumbers. There are also lamb and beef gyros, made with pita bread and tzatziki sauce as well, and Greek sausages called loukanikos.
When you’re ready for dessert, there is an abundance of options as well, with usually at least five to six tables of options spanning 50 feet long, Comerford said. There’s the traditional baklava, made with butter and honey, and for the first time this year, you can try baklava chocolate almond blossoms, which will be available for $2.50 apiece.
“It’s essentially phyllo dough filled with almonds and chocolate morsels,” Comerford said. “It’s a more American-friendly take on baklava, if you will.”
There will also be fried dough balls called loukoumades, which are soaked in syrup and sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Those will be available for in quantities of six, 12 or 20.
“It’s a very light, hot kind of dough that you often see at state fairs,” Comerford said. “People like to put honey on them or eat them with coffee.”
Several kinds of Greek cookies are on the menu, too. There is koulourakia, a butter-based cookie made with a hint of vanilla that can be bought in packages of six; finikia, a honey-dipped cookie with walnuts; and kourambiethes, which are buttered cookies with powdered sugar.
Menu items for non-Greek eaters include hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, ice cream, frappes, popcorn and more.
According to Comerford, almost all of the food is prepared within a few weeks of the festival, though a lot is cooked on site as well. So much food is made that a refrigerated tractor-trailer truck donated by Market Basket is brought in to store it all.
Inside the church, specialty drinks like Greek coffee, and a taverna with Greek beer and wine, are prepared. The Aegean Market, a staple of Glendi that features T-shirts, jewelry, wine, imported Greek olive oil and more for purchase, is also returning.
There will be raffles for chances to win cash prizes and other items like gift certificates to local Greek restaurants.
Comerford said a DJ will perform all day Friday and Saturday, and the Kostas Taslis Orchestra will perform on Saturday around 5 p.m.
A costumed dance troupe called Boston Lykeion Ellinidon will be performing throughout the weekend.
“They’re actually going to try to give entertainment to people while they’re waiting,” Comerford said. “They’ll do like a 20-minute show several times over the course of the late afternoon and early evening … to kind of help the time you’re standing in line pass by quicker.”

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