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The Hoplites are coming

"We're the only festival with a sit-down restaurant," Neal said. Neal's father, Ted Kondoprias, runs the kitchen, and parishioners volunteer as waiters, waitresses, bartenders wherever they're needed.

"We have more than 400 families," Neal said. "People work shifts, and lots of them do a hodgepodge of activities. You might have one mother who's teaching dance, and serving at the salad bar, too."

In the tent, representative of an agora " an outdoor Greek market " you can grab a souvlaki, gyros, salad, a drink, and watch some Greek dancing or hear live Greek music. There are rides for children are on the grounds, and vendors sell interesting wares ranging from jewelry to religious icons.

There will also be sommeliers at the festival, offering samplings from Greek wineries.

"Greg Taylor of Frederick Wildman and Sons will have two sommeliers there all weekend," Neal said.

Past attendees of the festival know to head first for the pastry table.

"There are more than 20,000 pieces of pastry," Neal said. "We usually sell out by 2 p.m on Sunday."

In their colorful costumes and sometimes fierce stance, The Greek Warriors will show the fiercer side of Greek culture. At the dessert table, you can sample the sweeter stuff. And if you take a tour of the church, you can see where Greek Americans worship today.

The Greek Festival is scheduled for Friday, May 18 from 6 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, May 19 from noon to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, May 20, from noon to 7 p.m.

The festival is at St. Sophia's at 440 Whitehall Road in Albany. The church will run a free shuttle from free parking at the Center for the Disabled at 314 So. Manning Blvd. in Albany and New Scotland Road at Route 85 in Slingerlands. ""

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