One of the many cool things I’ve noticed while living here in Dayton are all of the festivals for different cultures that happen throughout the year.

In the past few months alone, I have checked out the Celtic Fest, the Germanfest Picnic, and today, I checked out the Lebanese Festival.

All of them have been rich in the culture, full of authentic food, and of course, FUN!

I’ve never been to a Lebanese Festival before, and was really excited to check it out this afternoon. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, head on over to this festival.

It’s not a super huge festival, but that’s what makes it so great. The location, St Ignatius of Antioch Maronite Catholic Church, is very centric location for people to access it.

There’s a huge tent (where the authentic Lebanese food is at!), plus other tents of food if you don’t want to try the authentic (which you should!), such as hot dogs and ice cream. And there’s a separate beer and wine tent just outside the big tent, and different sodas on sale.

There’s also face painting, some rides, and little shops you can check out where there are belly dancing wraps you wear around your waist, jewelry, and more.

But to me, the three huge stars of the Festival are the people, the dancing, and of course the food.

So what did I choose for my lunch? It was a tough choice.
Here’s the menu:

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There were a number of sandwiches to choose from, with or without meat, and some great sides, including tabouli salad, hummus & pita, stuffed grape leaves and spinach pies. The people behind the counters were SO friendly and greeted me very warmly.

I decided on the Kafta as my sandwich ($6):

IMG_4469Kafta, according to the menu is freshly ground sirloin seasoned with salt, pepper, allspice, onions and chopped parsley, shaped and grilled over an open flame, topped with hummus, lettuce and tomatoes, wrapped in pita bread. The meat was almost of a soft meatball consistency, and was sweet with the seasonings inside it. I loved the balance of the sweet with the savory, creamy fresh hummus. A great wrap, indeed.

And as my side, I decided on the stuffed grape leaves ($3):

IMG_4466Now I’ve had grape leaves before, but never like these. I loved that these were meatless. It was a refreshing, the rice mixed with the tomatoes made it very light and not overly filling.

But after I had my lunch ($9 – a GREAT deal!), my sweet tooth came a calling.

There was a homemade Lebanese pastry table where you could get 3 pastries for $5, and also get a little cup of Arabic coffee for $1:

IMG_4471The pastries reminded me of Greek pastries (i.e. baklava): there was a presence of filo dough and nuts (I noticed a great presence of Pistachio nuts in the desserts I saw). Each one was very good in its own way, sweet, a little sticky, yet very very good.

And the Arabic coffee. I was told by the woman that if I loved coffee I’d LOVE this! Normally I don’t drink my coffee black, but I actually liked this little shot of black coffee. It was super strong, yet it balanced really well with the sweeter pastries. Delish.

While I was taking in all the delicious food, there was plenty of entertainment inside the big white tent. There were TONS of awesome belly dancers, including ones that danced with swords and veils. There was also a local group of musicians that played on a stage for the first time, that did a great job covering some pop songs instrumentally.

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The festival wraps up at 11 p.m. tonight, but don’t worry, if you want to take in some yummy food and check out some awesome dancing and music, the festival runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow!

The verdict: Lebanese food and the Lebanese Festival = awesome.

The Lebanese Festival

Saint Ignatius Maronite Catholic Church
5915 Springboro Pike (Route 741)
Miami Township

 

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