By Anna-Marie Menhenott
FORT PIERCE -- It's that time of year again.... The smell of gyros is in the air, traditional music is being played and the community is invited to learn and enjoy Greek culture.
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church has been hosting its annual festival for 35 years, and in that time the event has expanded and developed into one of the most popular festivals of the year.
"Each year, about 11,000 people visit the festival," said Adam Black, event co-chairman and vice president of the church. "It's great to have such a supportive community and to be part of such a great event. Each year we offer great Greek food and entertainment for old and young alike. There's something for everyone to do."
This year's event will include a bounce house and bungee jump for children, a Greek coffee shop, live music and dancing, church tours, Greek beer, wine and ouzo, a Greek liqueur, arts and crafts and a raffle with cash prizes.
"We offer Greek specialties such as mouffaka, spanakopita, the ever-popular gyros and pastries like baklava," Mr. Black said.
"Many people come for the entertainment and for a chance to sit down and watch the dancers and listen to the music, while some come because they love the food and can't wait to have some of the authentic cuisine that is offered."
The three-day event will offer a plethora of different ways to enjoy the Greek culture.
While most will indulge in the sweet treats and savory dishes, there are a lot of people who enjoy the social aspect of the event.
"Many people come and sit under the giant tent and reminisce about the memories that the food and music bring up," said Mr. Black. "This is a time for friends and families to gather and to enjoy the Greek culture. Not only is this a big community event, this is a huge event for the Greek community as well."
The festival kicks off on Feb. 21 and will run through Feb. 23. Gates are open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Sunday.
The church is located at 2525 South 25th Street in Fort Pierce. The church sits six blocks south of Virginia Avenue.
There is free parking and admission is $3 for 12 and older. Admission is free for everyone on Friday from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.