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Greek Glendi Festival offers food, stress-relief

MANATEE — The band played, the children danced and there was plenty of action along the food line as the Greek Glendi Festival kicked off Thursday at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church.

The church is celebrating its 25th annual festival this year with a four-day fundraiser continuing through Sunday on its grounds, 7671 N. Lockwood Ridge Road.

“This was very good,” said Carolyn Fields, 71, a design coordinator from Tucson, Ariz., who retired to Venice. “We’ve eaten in a lot of Greek restaurants, and it’s very good.”

She finished off a plate of moussaka (moo-SOCK-ka), a traditional Greek dish featuring ground meat and eggplant slices layered and topped with bechamel sauce, and decided: “It was the best I’ve ever eaten.”

The weather cooperated, too, as temperatures hovered in the 70s and the barest breeze flitted through blue-and-white balloons hanging at the apex of the big white main tent.

Jim Ferrera, 50, owner of Seabreeze Marine Canvas and Upholstery Co., of Bradenton, confessed: “The baklava brought me out.”

Since the insipid economy has cut into his business, anyway, he though he would eat and browse through the wares of a dealer in a nearby tent, who was selling coins dating from 449-413 B.C. that cost $775 apiece. The tent also featured flea market finds, jewelry and crafts.

“I plan on taking the afternoon off,” said Ferrera. “The economy is real slow now. Try to relax instead of stress, you know.”

Also browsing through festival wares was Crissy Bakken, 39, of Sarasota, and her son, Zachary, 8.

“I wanted to introduce my son to Greek culture,” she explained. “Great food, great shopping and pick-up gyros for my husband.”

Sara Kennedy, Bradenton Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 708-7908 or at skennedy@bradenton.com

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