Austin is a city that loves a good party. We celebrate music, hot sauce, films, and bats – just name it, and we probably have a festival to honor it – but the longest-established festival in our town celebrates the cuisine, music, and culture of the congregation of St. Elias Orthodox Church. The St. Elias Mediter- ranean Festival is one of the best parties in town. What began in the 1930s as an ethnic food sale to raise money to build the actual church has grown into a beloved annual event showcasing delicious foods from around the Mediterranean, irresistible folk dancing, a fantastic shopping bazaar, and an oasis of activities designed to delight children. For months, members of the church have spent weekends in the church kitchen preparing authentic Lebanese, Greek, and Palestinian dishes based on treasured heirloom recipes. Look for such delicacies as kefta, kibbe, dolmas, hummus, tabouleh, spanikopita, tyropita, baklava, nammoura, kourabiedes, and Arabic coffee to be available in abundance, along with a tempting selection of exotic wines, beers, and cocktails from around the Mediterranean.
Music will be provided by the band Stavros & Maria and Middle Eastern chanteuse Zein Al-Jundi, and folk dancing is enthusiastically encouraged. The festival will take up the entire block of 11th Street between Red River and Trinity for two evenings, and the cover charge is only $5 at the gate. Come prepared to buy food and drinks, shop at the bazaar, and dance your socks off. Opa! For more info on the festival, go to www.mediterraneanfestival.org.
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