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The 69th annual Greek Food and Pastry Sale begins Thursday
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The 69th annual Greek Food and Pastry Sale begins Thursday

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FLORENCE, S.C. – The 69th Annual Greek Food and Pastry Sale begins Thursday and continues through Sunday with a different twist this year due to COVID-19. This year’s event will be “drive-thru only.”

The event takes place at Transfiguration of Our Savior Greek Orthodox Church at 2990 S. Cashua Dr. in Florence.

The women of the church have been working tirelessly for weeks baking and preparing for this event. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Using traditional Greek recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, the women have prepared pastries just in time for holiday entertaining and boxed meals.

“We have modified our order and pickup process to enable faster service, while keeping our staff and patrons safe,” Helen Doulaveris said.

The event was started in the 1950s by Greek families living in the Florence area to raise money to build a church, said one of the church women. She said these families had to go to Charleston, Columbia or Augusta for the nearest Greek Orthodox Church.

She said in the beginning restaurants and grocery stores supported their efforts by selling pastries. It became a community event, and eventually enough money was raised to build a church.

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While the church has been built, the pastry sale continues and is still very successful.

Now the proceeds are disbursed among several charities and nonprofits supported by the church. They also help supply emergency kits for the homeless, provide coats for a coat drive, support our military troops, inform people about human trafficking and help families at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The women say their pastries are the best because they cook with a lot of love.

The women said the pastries will be great for the holidays and can be frozen or refrigerated.

The pastries go; everyone is encouraged to come early.

Entrees include Chicken Riganato, Greek baked chicken; Moussaka, beef and eggplant casserole; Dolmades, grape leaves stuffed with ground beef and rice; Souvlaki, skewered marinated pork tenderloin; Spanakopita, spinach with feta cheese in filo pastry; and Grilled Chicken Greek Salad. Dinners will be served with sides and bread. Dinners are $12 per boxed plate.

No meal will be complete without trying one of the Greek pastries.

Baklava is always a favorite. Other crowd favorites are kourambiedes, a buttery almond cookie covered in powdered sugar; melomakarona, a spice cookie with nuts and dipped in honey; koulourakia, a traditional twisted butter Easter cookie; eclairs, cream-filled pastries with chocolate topping; and canoli, a cream-filled pastry shell.

For more information, call the church office at 843-662-5471.

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