St. Louis ( KSDK ) - - It's a festival thousands flock to year after year... for the food.
"The greek food is it, definitely," says one patron.
But at the heart of the St. Nicholas Greek Festival is a parish that dates back to 1917 and a beautiful church built in 1934.
"And this is a picture of the church picnic in 1946," points out Nick Tharenos, Co-Chairman of the festival.
Back then this was just your run of the mill parish picnic.
"In those days what would happen is the men would dig pits and they'd roast lambs in these pits," Tharenos explains.
Until the aroma caught the attention of people passing by.
"We thought well we have people who are coming by and stopping and asking about buying lamb so why don't we consider doing something like a festival," Tharenos goes on to say.
So around 1970 they decided to kick things up a notch and what you see now isn't just an opportunity to sample greek food.
"We have shish-kebob and rice, lamb shanks, we have chicken and rice," Tharenos runs through a long list.
"We have moussaka, we have pastitsio, we have spanakopita," he continues.
But it's also what helps keep this church so breathtakingly beautiful.
"It's a big fundraiser for us. Some of the proceeds go to the general maintenance of the church and some of them go to our philanthropic arm," Tharenos adds.