Upper Darby, PA – He’s the furry, big green mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. Beloved by all, the Phillie Phanatic made a special appearance yesterday at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, where he greeted visitors at the gate and on the street outside the church. Upper Darby police let the Phanatic stop traffic and snap up photos with fans as they entered the Greek festival.

The Upper Darby Greek Festival has a fresh look, and if you haven’t gone by, there’s still a couple of days left this weekend to stop in. Free valet parking? Yup, pull up in front of the church festival entrance and they take your care across the street into the cemetery parking lot, safe and secure. Walk past the Corinthian columns at the entrance and then a series of mythological Gods (statues) just under the big tent, greet you.

The new tent, twice as big and airy with row after row of tables gives you a view of the stage, bar, coffee section, and two outdoor eating areas that feature traditional Greek food. Gyros and souvlaki have been upgraded as a la carte platters, sort of like a Greek style chipotle where you pick your toppings and additional side dishes. And the options from hummus to salad, to rice are quite inviting.

Inside the church hall, a traditional bazaar and hot platters are abundant. Moussaka, Pasticcio and even the Lamb shank are cooked to perfection. Grab a bottle of Greek wine, and enjoy your meal. When done, a Greek coffee and sweet awaits you just a few feet away. Far too many options there make it a perfect way to end your meal before heading back outside for some traditional Greek folk dancing and music. All in all, the Upper Darby Greek Festival continues to be not only the opening festival of the season but the one that does it with traditional style.