Monday, September 2, 2013

St. Basil's Food Festivals, Past & Present

Steve X. (2006)
Getting ready to get on a jet plane to Stockton for the St. Basil's Greek Festival (aka "Food Festival").  It'll be my first one since 2006. That was my Dad's last one, and we both worked pretty hard that weekend. The 3-day festival is the church's biggest fund-raiser, but not exactly easy money.  A lot of people work very hard, starting many weeks before.

These days, the festival takes place on the church's March Lane campus. In the beginning -- that would be 1959 -- it was held at the Stockton Civic Auditorium. That was a VERY big deal for us Stockton Greek-Americans.

Quality Control
There is rich history of festival articles in the Stockton Record, and several featured my parents. In 1982, "Preparing pastries sweet assignment for Greek festival" talked about my Mom Angeline's hope to soon be able to finally step down as Sweets Chair after 10 years of doing that. But in the 1988 article "Taste of Greece," she is still at it!  In both articles, she talks about the importance of quality control: "..because the ones on top brown on top and then need to go to the bottom to brown on the bottom." And she heaps praise on all the ladies that make the sweets sales such a success.

It should also be noted that a 1989 article featuring my Dad Steve was entitled "Beware of Greek serving  fine food."  We are reminded that: "Between festivals Xanttopoulos and his wife manage the church social hall."  There was no end to their involvement/devotion to St. Basil's, and they weren't the only ones.

Chris, Oly & Paula (2006)
I am really looking forward to being at the festival this year, both to do my part and to see everyone.  No one, after all, knows what next year will bring...I'll be in the Sweets Department, of course -- and if I'm lucky, I'll get a turn in Debbie's Gyro Booth. See you this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (September 6-8). Opa!

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