Holy trinity

Birmingham’s Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral hosts 39th Greek Festival

Nick Manakides of Golden Rule Bar-BQ in Hoover has been grilling the lamb skewers at the Greek Festival for the past few years. (Birmingham News/Joe Songer)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama —

, the annual Greek festival is a family tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.

And at the 39th festival this year, three generations of parishioners will gather next to each other to bake pastries, grill chicken and push the queues forward.

The three-day festival begins Thursday and runs through Saturday, October 1.

Like many of his fellow parishioners, Jimmy Cosmas dates back to the festival’s first year, when he was just a teenager helping his parents, Gus and Georgia Cosmas.

At that time, the young Cosmas mainly did cleaning duties, but as an adult he rose through the ranks from chicken cook to his current role as festival president.

“My mom, my dad and my whole family have been involved in this for 39 years,” Cosmas said. “All of us (parishioners) have done it.

GREEK FESTIVAL DETAILS

When:

Thursday to Saturday, Oct. 1, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Or:

Holy Trinity Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 307 19th St. South.

On the Web:

www.bhamgreekfestival.com.

“It’s generational, just like the ladies who do all the baking and pass it on to the next generation.”

Cosmas’ father passed away, but his mother is still doing baking and accounting this year.

And her daughter Jessica, who has just graduated, is learning to make baklava.

“Here we go,” said Cosmas. “A third generation of workers learning to bake and cook.”

Some of Birmingham’s most prominent Greek chefs and restaurateurs have also brought their culinary talents to the festival over the years.

George Sarris of Fish market and DoDiYos takes care of the spinach pies and stuffed vine leaves this year, and Nick Manakides from the Golden Rule Bar-BQ at Hoover is once again in charge of grilling the lamb skewers.

Others include brothers Jim and Nick Pihakis of Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-BQ, Pete and Ted Hontzas of West of Niki, George and Jimmy Sissa of Niki’s Downtown, and hot dog kings Pete, Jimmy and Sam Graphos of Sneaky Pete’s Hot Dogs, Jimmy’s Hot Dogs & Burgers and Sam’s Super Samwiches, respectively.

This year, more than 100 church volunteers will prepare and serve up to 2,000 pounds of salad, 8,000 chicken quarters and 15,000 pieces of baklava, Cosmas says.

The festival also includes live Greek music and folk dancing, as well as guided tours of the cathedral.

Free parking is available in the Liberty National Building at the corner of 20th Street and 3rd Avenue South.

To see a menu, go here.

Email Bob Carlton at bcarlton@bhamnews.com

Follow him on Twitter at @BobBhamNews