Lovin’ the fests

As organizers of Saturday’s Little Italy Fest on Jay Street warned attendees of an incoming storm th

As organizers of Saturday’s Little Italy Fest on Jay Street warned attendees of an incoming storm that could bring with it winds of 60 miles per hour, there was a divided reaction among the crowd.

Hundreds of people began funneling out of the small street, heeding the warnings of police officers on the scene. Many of these people, if not most of them, were armed with plastic foam containers or plates of homemade Italian food.

The people who took their time leaving the festival were mostly sticking around to get their own takeout container or plate of food.

Around 4 p.m., as the temperature dropped noticably and wind began messing with the tents lined up along the street, Theresa Migirditch was still cashing out customers in line for food from Perreca’s Bakery and More Perreca’s Cafe.

“That’s because it’s that good,” Migirditch said, as customers shoved dollar bills at her to pay for gelato and rice balls. “They’re getting their dinner to go.”

Even before the dark skies signaled the storm would be cutting the event short, she said their small line of tents had a steady stream of customers.

It was the same situation at Cornell’s and Civitello’s spots as well, as both eateries began ushering their wares to safety and breaking down tents while still trying to feed hungry customers getting hit by the first drops of rain.

Those drops quickly escalated into a heavy pounding, which didn’t last more than 20 minutes but resulted in the end of the festival.

Nearby on Liberty Street at the 37th Annual Greek Festival, the weather put only a momentary damper on things, as this event had the benefit of indoor seating at St. George Greek Orthodox Church hall and two massive tents that could handle the rain.

The big attraction early in the afternoon at the Greek Festival were youth dancers, who showed off traditional dances from all over Greece. They performed under one of the two large tents. Adult lead dancer and event chairman Evan Euripidou, 28, said the young dancers in particular are a big draw for the event — a statement that was proven true as people began migrating to the tent after the rain when the children were about to set up for their second performance of the day.

“They do something new each year,” Euripidou said.

Unfortunately, the wet weather dampened the ground under the tent, and he said the adult dances with fire were unlikely to happen. But if it is warm and dry today, dancing with fire could take place at the festival.

All during Saturday’s rain, attendees at the festival never stopped eating, with the large interior hall hosting a constant buzz from chewing and chatting.

Euripidou said that regardless of the weather, the Greek spirit was strong in the event and the crowd would brave the rain. He added that they did pray in the morning to St. George, the namesake of the local church, for good weather despite the forecast.

Also on Saturday was the Stockade Villagers’ 61th Annual Art Show, which was held before the rain put an end to any outdoor activities.

The Greek Festival continues today from noon to 5 p.m.

Categories: Schenectady County

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