Victor Boulos says he became a member of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in 1993 and has been part of the church’s annual Greek festival ever since. The festival is an enormous endeavor.
“In my first years,” he says, “I assisted Spedo Southas as he groomed me to take over his place as festival chairman. My responsibility is to coordinate with the members of the festival committee and all our volunteers and vendors.
“The goal is to have everyone prepare for four grueling days of 14-hour days. The festival wouldn’t be successful if it wasn’t for our amazing parishioners who volunteer from mid-July until the end of the festival.
“My gratitude goes to the 30 ladies who come in every Tuesday and Thursday in July and August to prepare all the sweets, grape leaves (dolmas) and the pastries. The festival takes every member of our parish to make it work.”
Boulos also has to make sure all of the tents and equipment are set up one or two days prior to the festival and that vendors have delivered supplies and help with the takedown.
Father Michael Tervo, the priest at St. Sophia, encourages the entire Whatcom County community to attend. Tervo says the Greek and Lebanese cultures represented at the festival are famous for their carefree hospitality, and everyone can come as they are.
For people who want to learn about Orthodox Christianity, St. Sophia will be open for tours led by Tervo and other volunteers during the festival. People learn about St. Sophia’s icons and everything that goes on inside the beautiful church.
If you see Tervo walking around during the festival, feel free to stop him and ask him a question. Knowledgeable volunteers also will be available for questions.
Tervo says that in addition to gyros, other popular festival foods are such desserts as baklava, koulourakia (twisted cookies), paximadia (Greek biscotti) and loukoumathes (honey-covered fried sweet dough). Non-adventurous eaters can enjoy all of the items; adventurous eaters can enjoy more of them.
Boulos says what he enjoys most about the festival is how the Whatcom community has embraced it.
As for the food, he says it’s all delicious, but his favorite is a gyro with extra tzatziki sauce.
The church's telephone number was corrected Sept. 6, 2014.