Greek Fest starts Friday for Labor Day weekend

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – There's a lot of labor that goes into a Labor Day tradition in the Central West End.

'These pans are all marked or scored and what they do tomorrow is they'll take these individual pieces out and put them in a cup and then we put them on trays which you'll see in there,' says Nick Tharenos, the Greek Festival Co-Chair.

For the last 28 years, Nick Tharenos has been a familiar face working at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox church for their annual festival.

'It's become the largest ethnic festival in the greater St. Louis area and we expect between 20 to 30-thousand people to come here over the weekend,' says Tharenos.

Today at the corner of Kingshighway and Forest park avenue, church members and workers prepped the familiar west end anchor that's been holding this event for 97 seasons.

'So we have 436 pans in here of Spanikopika,' says Becky Tharenos, the Greek Festival Food Director.

Becky Tharenos knows the numbers it takes to get the gateway city a taste of Greece.

'We made 12-thousand shish kabobs by hand,' says Mrs. Tharenos.  'Our parishioners come in and make pounds and tons of shish kabobs.  Cook them over charcoal.  We won't use gas grills for those.  It just makes a different taste.'

Today, volunteers prepped some 40-thousand cookies, 250 pans of baklava and 2400 lamb shanks for this weekend.

'Our volunteers are all from the parish and we, it's just a good weekend for us to get to know each other than the fact that we come here on Sundays,' says Tharenos.

It's a delicious tradition that will kick off this Friday.

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