OPA! FEST, JUNE 22 -24, 2007
Hosted by St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Troy, three days in June were filled with live Greek music; traditional folk dances performed by numerous costumed experts, and of course, mouthwatering Greek food and pastry. For the adults, Wine Dimensions also provided an on-site wine tasting featuring the exotic varietals of Greece.
Of course, art was featured as a significant feature of the festival, including a special exhibit of fold art, icons and artifacts on loan from the private collection of John P. Korachis. A church tour was equally intriguing, as St. Nicholas contains marble fixtures, murals and iconography by George Philipakis, providing lovers of Orthodox art lovers with one of the most intricate iconostasis in the country.
For those whose tastes run more to popular modern culture, the festival’s highlight was two performances by American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis, made possible by Mosaic Restaurant and Pegasus Taverna in Greektown. A graduate of the Boston Conservatory, Constantine became a household name via his success on America’s most popular television program.
A signifcant presence throughout the Opa! Fest was Rev. Father Stratton Dorozenski of St. Nicholas. The tall, bearded Proistamenos is as good natured as he is elegant. We remember him from earlier this month, when fellow Greek Sen. John Pappageorge (R-Troy, welcomed him to the state Capitol. Dorozenski led members of the Michigan Senate during the invocation and afterward joined Pappageorge on the Senate floor for session. Today, with the huge success of the festival, he was in a relaxed mode, enjoying the multitude of activities.
Another popular attraction was cooking demonstrations by Olga Loizon. Yes, it’s that Olga, founder of Olga's Her Original Olga sandwich--broiled, seasoned beef and lamb topped with onions, tomatoes, and Olgasauce, wrapped in hot, grilled-to-order, secret recipe Olga Bread, has become a staple of Detroiters, Greek or otherwise.
The festival’s graciously extended hospitality and friendship makes the Opa! Fest one of the most hotly anticipated traditions of Detroit’s summer line-up.