Who says you need buy a plane ticket and use precious vacation days to experience Middle Eastern flair? We certainly don’t. Forget the suitcases and pack the whole family in the car for a trip to St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, where members double as masters of old-world hospitality and stellar cooks.
For weeks, members have filled the church’s kitchen, chopping parsley and rolling dough, all under the watchful eye of their head chef (a Syrian himself). A smorgasbord of lamb, doughy goodness, and hummus await you—including the church’s famed faranee bread, still made from the same recipe used for over 100 years.
Before feasting, unleash the kids on the bouncy castle and the petting zoo, while you scope out the silent auction full of trips, tickets (Dr. Phil and Wheel of Fortune!), and jerseys. Make your next stop a visit to the brown-eyed stud Nick—that is, Nick the camel—back this year to give rides to all brave enough to climb upon his back. After a ride, try out your own two feet again and attempt to master the steps to the traditional Dabke dance, as the St. George Middle Eastern dance troupe takes the stage. Food, fun, and people so nice you feel like you’re family: what more do you need? Ahlan wa sahlan!
Middle Eastern Festival
Friday, July 22—Saturday, July 23, noon-10 p.m.; Sunday, July 24, noon-6 p.m.
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
1250 Oakdale Ave., West St. Paul