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The ladies of St George Greek Orthodox Church bake pastries on Wednesday in preparation for the Greek Pastry Sale.

It’s hard not to become mesmerized by their hands. The four women sitting at the table in the kitchen at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral roll the balls of dough that will become delicious koulorakia with such speed that their movements blur. And yet, they make no mistakes. You could get a scale and weigh each one, but there is no need.

“They know by feel,” says Lynda Leventis-Wells, who in her 60s is one of the younger members helping out today.

The cookies can mean only one thing, the pastry sale is near. For the 51st year, the women of the St. George Philoptochos society will hold their bake sale and luncheon. The single-day event includes 10 varieties of pastries for sale by the single or by the box full, along with a traditional scratch made Greek meal and this year, a chance to order side dishes and casseroles for your holiday meal as well.

The women today are making cookies that are at this point familiar to most Greenvillians. The koulourakia, the twisted butted cookies that are perfect with coffee, and are standard at the Greek Festival. Today, the cookies are for the Ronald McDonald House’s holiday party. They are a donation to the local charity from the women of Philoptochos.

While many have come to anticipate and know well the Greek Festival that takes place each May, the pastry sale precedes the festival by about two and a half decades.

“There is no question that in most Greek Orthodox parishes in the United States, the bake sales have been around much much longer than the festivals have,” says Father Tom Pistolis, priest of St. George…