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LI food festivals offer palate-pleasing finale to summer

Kathy Pascale, of Mastic Beach, works on preparing

Kathy Pascale, of Mastic Beach, works on preparing to eat a crab at the annual Blue Claw Crab Festival Sunday afternoon in Mastic Beach on Aug. 30, 2015. By James Carbone Photo Credit: James Carbone

If you really want to savor the remaining days of summer, there’s only thing to do . . . EAT! This weekend is packed with food-focused festivals that will fill your belly and widen your palate from Greek to seafood to Italian. Here are four to feast at.

PORT JEFFERSON GREEK FESTIVAL

Opa! The Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Port Jefferson’s Greek Festival turns 55 this year and the feeding continues.

“We are well known for our food,” says event chair George Voulgarakis. “It’s a very authentic menu with homemade spanakopita [spinach pie] to moussaka [eggplant-meat dish] to pastitsio [Greek lasagna].”

But dining isn’t all that’s on the menu: This year’s mega raffle features 315 prizes including luxury cars like the 2017 Mercedes-Benz and $32,000 in cash.

“We only sell 4,999 tickets at $100 apiece,” Voulgarakis says. “It always sells out.”

WHEN | WHERE 5-11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, and 1-11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, and Sunday, Aug. 28, 430 Sheep Pasture Rd., Port Jefferson

ADMISSION $2, free younger than 12

INFO 631-743-0894, portjeffgreekfest.com

THE FEAST OF MOTHER CABRINI

Call it the mother of all feasts: This end-of-summer staple is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. The feast, under the direction of Giuseppe A. Nigro Lodge No. 2234 — Order of the Sons of Italy and Newton Shows, is so big it runs nine days.

“It has grown tremendously,” says event chair Theresa Pernice. “It started as an Italian feast and has branched out to represent all the different ethnicities.”

Come hungry because more than 20 food vendors will tempt you with Italian specialties like calzone and sausage and peppers as well as Spanish dishes like empanadas and tacos or Greek favorites such as gyros and souvlaki.

“We set up a quarter-mile-long Food Corso with festival lighting that evokes a city streetscape lined with food vendors and amusement games plus rides on each end,” says event producer Mike Newton. “It’s a beautiful, safe respite for the Long Island community.”

Put your stomach to the test during the Zeppoli Eating Contest on Sept. 3 at 9 p.m. if you dare.

WHEN | WHERE Weekdays 6-11 p.m., weekends 4-11 p.m., Friday, Aug. 26-Sunday, Aug. 28, and Wednesday, Aug. 31-Monday, Sept. 5, Suffolk County Community College, 1001 Crooked Hill Rd., Michael J. Grant Campus, Brentwood

ADMISSION Free

INFO 631-499-6824, mothercabrinifeast.org

LI MARITIME MUSEUM SEAFOOD FESTIVAL

Shellfish lovers are directed to head east to this 25th annual seafood festival in West Sayville.

“We have every kind of seafood from steamed to broiled to fried to Cajun,” says event producer Kathleen Prokesch. “It’s definitely a party!”

Blue Island Oyster Company will serve steamed lobsters, soft shell crabs, steamers and fresh shucked local clams and oysters on the half shell. Meanwhile Claws Seafood Market will dish out lobster rolls, fried shrimp, steamed Prince Edward Island mussels, Alaskan crab legs, mini crabcakes and old-fashioned homemade baked clams.

“It’s sort of like the last hurrah of the summer,” Prokesch says. “It enables the museum to move forward with its mission of educating everyone about Long Island’s rich nautical heritage.”

WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 27, and Sunday, Aug. 28, Long Island Maritime Museum, 88 West Ave., West Sayville

ADMISSION $10, free younger than 12

INFO 631-447-8679, liseafoodfestival.org

BLUE CLAW CRAB FESTIVAL

If you like steamed shrimp in bay seasoning, boiled blue claw crab and clams on the half-shell, then look no further than Mastic Beach on Sunday, Aug. 28, for the 12th annual Blue Claw Crab Festival, presented by the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association.

“This festival was created to showcase the community,” says vendor coordinator Terrie Cicerelli. “It brings people together in a family-friendly atmosphere.”

Not a seafood fan? No worries, there will be plenty of food vendors serving ribs, barbecued chicken, sausage and peppers, hot dogs, hamburgers, Philly cheesesteaks, pulled pork, chicken nuggets and more.

WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 28, Bob DeBona Memorial Marina 1, 97 Rivera Dr., Mastic Beach

ADMISSION Free

INFO 631-399-6111, masticbeachpropertyownersassociation.org

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