10SpagEvery year, the Sts. Constantine And Helen Greek Orthodox Church offers the greater Fayetteville area a delicious spaghetti meal. And every year, thousands show up to partake. Nov. 15 marks the church’s 59th Annual World’s Largest Spaghetti Dinner and Greek Pastry Sale. This muchloved tradition lasts just one day, but it’s worth attending.

During the early years, the spaghetti dinners were dine-in affairs, serving about 400 meals each year. The event has grown so much that eating in is no longer an option, but still, thousands turn out to pick up the piping hot pasta in to-go boxes.

While the community is always eager to support this delicious endeavor, it’s a huge effort on the part of the Greek congregation as well. Dozens of church volunteers come together to make a couple of tons of pasta and 900 or so gallons of meat sauce – all topped with 200 or so pounds of grated Parmesan cheese – for their friends, neighbors and community.

Head chef Tony Kotsopoulis started helping with the dinner in 1989. By 1993, he was running the kitchen for the event along with the generous help of many volunteers. There is a lot that goes into making the dinner and pastry sale a success year after year. The planning, the prepping, the cooking and the serving all take time and energy. But as cars line up and the boxes of spaghetti start heading out the Hellenic Center doors, it becomes worth it. Few events receive this kind of support from the community, and that’s not lost on the volunteers who twice a year pull together to embrace Fayetteville. The other occasion is the Greek Festival, which takes place each September.

The delicious pasta is reason enough to support the spaghetti dinner, but the Greek pastry sale that happens alongside this event has a strong following, too. For anyone with a sweet tooth, the pastries are a treat not to be missed.

While the dinner and pastry sale is a boon for the community, it’s about more than filling stomachs with a hearty meal. The proceeds benefit local nonprofits that help people in this community. The beneficiaries change from year to year, but the generosity of the Greek congregation does not.

The spaghetti dinner and pastry sale runs Nov. 15 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Hellenic Center at 614 Oakridge Ave. Tickets cost $7 and can be purchased at the door. Call (910) 484-8925 for more information.

 

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