Holiday Faire 2023, hosted by Philoptochos St. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church Community in Glenview, returns for its 63rd year on December 2.
The Faire features some new and some old traditions, including a return to popular features first introduced in the 1960s, such as lunch and dinner options, musical entertainment and homemade souvenirs made by its members, according to a news release. Glenview and surrounding area residents are invited to the event, which will be held at the church community center at 1401 Wagner Road.
In the statement, it was stated that Philoptochos, which means Friends of the Poor in Greek, is the name of the charitable arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. The St. Peter and Paul Philoptochos chapter takes its mission seriously and last year successfully donated $62,000 to those in need locally, nationally and globally.
Generally, one-third of the funds distributed by the group come from the proceeds of the Holiday Fair, according to the statement. Beneficiaries of this year’s event will be Misericordia – Home, Chicago, whose mission is to provide continuing care and support to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities; The statement also included Camp One Step, which provides respite care and summer camp experience to children diagnosed with cancer.
The Holiday Faire has been held annually since its inception in 1960, except for 2020 (when COVID-19 prevented public gatherings). The event’s traditions, including its name, have continued to evolve with the times. While homemade Greek pastries and dishes are always the biggest attraction at the event, the release noted that this year’s Holiday Fair will feature a festive food court atmosphere where people can choose from gyros, spanakopita, Greek chicken and pastichio; after-hours dinner drive-thru; Live holiday entertainment performed by Glenview students; a room where families can build and decorate gingerbread houses; and a pop-up store offering gifts, including hostess gifts and jewelry, made by Philoptochos members.
The changes are both an acknowledgment of current consumer trends and a nod to the past, the statement said. St. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church was chartered in 1960, and the ladies of the congregation stepped up to begin raising money to help those in need. In November of that year, they hosted their first Christmas Market at the Wilmette Women’s Club because their church was not yet built.
According to the statement, at that time and over the following decades, a staff of women spent eleven months creating handmade decorations and clothing that would be available for sale. Mary Koulogeorge, the first chair of the event, said: “We spent months preparing wreaths, stuffed animals, table and Christmas decorations. Everything was homemade!”
Over the years, the event has evolved to include outside vendors and set the trend for craft shows, according to the release. The bazaar attracted national media attention, and in December 1978 Better Homes and Gardens photographed it for their Christmas issue.
“The founding ladies of our church generally did not work outside the home,” Holiday Faire 2023 president Kris Tsitsis said in a statement. “That’s no longer the case, so we’ve updated some things to better reflect the times. In addition to offering a new dine-in drive-thru option to accommodate people’s lifestyles, our pop-up store will primarily feature homemade consumables such as candies and spices, addressing the need to offer handcrafted gifts to a population focused on sorting through their belongings. “This is a way to take a new approach while staying true to the original vision of Faire.”
Holiday Fair 2023 hours are 10am – 4pm and admission is a voluntary donation. Lunch will be served between 11:30 – 14:30. The new drive-thru will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, contact Kris Tsitsis: email@example.com or visit our website at https://ssppglenview.org/events/.