Saint George’s annual Middle Eastern Food Festival happening now through Saturday, September 29th

Marilyn (far left) serving up tasty treats with her two daughters, Nikki (middle) and Natalie (far right) at The Middle Eastern Food Festival. Photo by Sara Hersh for Bham Now

The annual Middle Eastern Food Festival at Saint George’s Melkite Greek-Catholic Church is back and better than ever! What I thought would be a quick trip to eat turned into an exciting afternoon of exploring food, culture and the friendships that make this church so special.

Let’s Talk Food.

For the past 37 years, the food at Saint George’s Middle Eastern Food Festival has been keeping the people of Birmingham happy and coming back for more. Year after year, people across Birmingham attend the festival to get their fill of falafel sandwiches, savory kibbee, and delicious chicken prepared Greek-style. Rev. Deacon Andrew Baroody took some time to sit down and tell me some more about all the hard work that goes into the preparation of the food:

“We probably make 6,500 spinach pies, 6,000 meat pies, and about 16,000 grape leaves, rolled by the hands of the church members themselves. We also have all the Arabic sweets you could ever dream of”, said Rev. Baroody.

My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Fresh mamoul dates at The Middle Eastern Food Festival. Photo by Sara Hersh for Bham Now

The Culture.

Aside from stuffing my face with baklawa, I found that the unsung charm of this festival is in the celebration of culture. The festival that began in 1981 continues to serve around 10,000 people year after year to give back to the community, as well as teach Birmingham residents more about the church’s faith. On Friday and Saturday they will provide informative church tours to visitors who want to fully immerse themselves in the culture. Additionally, there are live Arabic dance and music performances that you do not want to miss! The church has the scheduled performances online. You can view them here.  

Hand carved olive wood from The Holy Land on sale at The Middle Eastern Food Festival. Photo by Sara Hersh for Bham Now

GIVE ME THE DETAILS.

If you haven’t been yet, there is no need to fear! You still have two days to make it! Here are all the details you need to know:

How do I get tickets? You don’t! Entry is FREE!

Where is it? Saint George Greek-Catholic Melkite Church. Address: 425 16th Avenue S, Birmingham, AL 35205

When?: Friday, September 28th and Saturday, September 29th, from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Where do I park?: Park in the parking lots of the church! Wherever you can find a space for your car, park it. I assure you, parking gets limited real fast. I guess that’s the small price you pay when you have over 10,000 visitors at a food festival for one weekend! There is also a drive thru at the festival, for those of you who just want to grab a quick bite to eat on your lunch break!

So come out and enjoy the food festival that has found its special place in the Birmingham culinary renaissance! I know I’ll be making a trip back for seconds.