NEW BRITAIN - The rain started about an hour after the Greek Festival officially opened its doors Friday at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, but the showers did not stop the community from attending the 36-year-old tradition.
Stephen Polezonis, also known as “The Watch Guy,” is the chairman of the flowers committee but he also rents a space at the festival to sell and repair watches including battery replacements. Polezonis said he has been active at the festival since 1990 in one form or another.
“This is supposed to be the worst of it,” Polezonis said. “Tomorrow is supposed to be good, Sunday is supposed to be good. But hopefully this is the worst of it. This is rain or shine. At least it’s not cold.”
The festival started around 11 a.m. on Friday and continued through midnight. On Saturday the festival will also be held from 11 a.m. to midnight and the festivities will continue through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For Mary Tolis, the festival is a long-time family tradition.
“We wanted to have lunch here today and tomorrow we will come back again and then Sunday,” Tolis said. “It’s kind of a weekend where we have our dinners and our lunches here. The food is delicious, absolutely delicious. We also bring pastry home. It’s a wonderful fundraiser for the church - they work very, very hard.”
Alice Poulos is a church member who is in charge of the plant sales at the festival.
“We have plants every year from the very first festival that we’ve had,” Poulos said.
Flowers, hanging plants and herbs were part of the plant variety offered at the festival on Friday.
Poulos, who has attended the festival since its beginnings, said she has served in many areas of it including the cultural exhibits, the kitchen and for the past years in the flower sales, which she enjoys as the festival offers a variety of the plants she likes.
“I love plants, I just love flowers,” Poulos said. “I love geraniums, I love the herbs, I love the basil, the rosemary and the oregano.”
Jone Morgan said she has attended the festival since 1997 and she continues to go to shop for jewelry, food and even clothing.
“I enjoy coming here, I get nice things,” Morgan said. “I just enjoy coming here and people are very friendly, I see people I know here.”
The festival is running a raffle with donations from the community that will be drawn on Sunday evening. The items that are being raffled off include a taste of Greece basket, an Apple watch, a picnic basket, a beach basket, a wine crate, a tablet and more.
To learn more about St. George Greek Orthodox Church, visit www.nbstgeorge.com .
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.