This weekend is chock-full of festivals, notably the Dayton Greek Festival, which is celebrating its 60th year. We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to not only highlight the festival, but one important woman who keeps things running.
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Debra “Deb” Pulos has been involved with the festival or church for over three decades. Her role as Public Relations Coordinator ensures that the public knows all about the festival’s specialties (food!), the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church’s parishioners and much more.
Get to know what keeps Pulos involved in the festival — and what she loves most about the Gem City.
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Since you’re not a Dayton native, what brought you to the area?
I’m a Chicago gal, born and raised there. Meeting my husband of 33 years, Chris Pulos at the age of 18 in college is what brought me to Dayton.
Middle school-aged dancers at the 2017 Dayton Greek Festival. Photo: Contributed
How did you get involved in the now 60-year-old Greek Fest in Dayton?
Honestly, it was just expected of me. Once you are a member of our parish, I think it is a “given” that working at the festival every year is something you do. My children worked and danced all of their lives. Both live in Northern Ohio right now, but so many of our children have grown up dancing, and continue on in the young adult and adult group dancers.
Can you share with us what your duties/roles/work look like as the public relations chairwoman for the festival?
My job is to share all aspects of our festival with people of the great city of Dayton and surrounding areas. I try to look at different angles every year, perhaps letting people in on what it takes to put this great festival together, or sharing stories of lifelong parishioners who have helped the festival evolve.
What inspires you to continue Greek traditions through food, faith and celebration in Dayton?
It’s the people that I call my family and friends who inspire me. It’s my mother and father in law who worked diligently for this parish. It’s watching generation after generation do what it takes to share all aspects of our faith and heritage with everyone.
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Deb Pulo's son George and husband Chris Pulos working the grill together at the 2017 Dayton Greek Festival. Photo: Contributed
What are some of your favorite foods to eat at the festival?
That’s a tough question. I love our salads and chicken gyros! Our dressing is homemade and is wonderful. Our pastries are amazing and handmade by generations of women in our parish, and they must all be tired.
What is it about Dayton that interested you both in staying here permanently?
Family. Dayton is a great place to raise a family. My husband and I had intended to return to Chicago, but too many things kept our feet firmly planted in Dayton.
If you could change/improve one thing about Dayton, what would that be?
Dayton and the surrounding areas are growing at a rapid pace, which I love. I would like to see people feel better about venturing outside of their own neighborhoods, to especially enjoy the city.
Can you share with us a memory from the Greek Festival that really resonates with you?
My father-in-laws face when watching my children (his grandchildren) dance, up until his passing, is a wonderful memory.
The crowd outside of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church at the 2017 Dayton Greek Festival. Photo: Contributed
What do you find most inspiring about Dayton?
The variety of people and opportunity here in Dayton is wonderful. I love that anything is attainable with hard work and vision.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Dayton?
So I love going to concerts, and we are so lucky to have the Rose and Fraze in town, and now the Levitt Pavilion. My husband is such a good sport, I think I took him to over 20 concerts last summer!
What do you see for the future of the Gem City in the coming 5 years?
I see younger people staying or returning back to Dayton. We are embracing who we are and what we are becoming. Dayton has been a wonderful place to raise my family.
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The Greek Festival takes place Sept. 7-9 at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, located at 500 Belmonte Park N., Dayton.