Food, music on tap at church's annual Lebanese Festival

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It’s still summer, and one of the season’s grandest celebrations – the annual St. George Maronite Church Lebanese Festival – will begin Friday and continue through Sunday in Cranston.

This year’s event will again feature delicious authentic Lebanese cuisine and pastries prepared by parishioners and also include a variety of live music, children’s entertainment and a full bar.

“The parishioners of St. George’s are once again excited to host our annual Lebanese Festival,” said the Rev. Edward T. Nedder, pastor of the church at 1493 Cranston St. “We’ve been preparing for months, and we’re looking forward to opening our doors to the thousands of guests who will join in celebrating our heritage and faith.”

Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon, who is a proud parishioner at George Maronite Church, noted: “Year after year we look forward to celebrating a great cultural event that offers fine food and fellowship for people from all over the state.”

This year’s event, which runs from 5-11 p.m. on Friday, will again have what Solomon called “some of the best Middle Eastern foods and pastries that people can enjoy on the parish grounds or take home if they’d like.”

Saturday’s festival hours are 3-11 p.m. and Sunday’s hours are 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We’ll be serving our cuisine rain or shine underneath the tents,” said committee member Tony Simon, who also owns and operates Simon Consulting.

In fact, the spacious parking lot at St. George Maronite Church will covered by a number of large canopy tents that will house various food stations, the full bar as well as tables and chairs where people can enjoy such items like baked kibbeh – Lebanon’s national dish, which is a mixture of beef, bulgur, wheat and traditional spices stuffed with lamb and baked.

The three-day festival will also feature marinated beef and chicken shish kebab cooked on propane-powered grills by the dedicated parishioners of St. George Maronite Church, who year after year have received rave reviews for their culinary skills.

Simon said there will also be kafta, which is beef ground mixed with onions and traditional Lebanese herbs, grilled and served with salad, hummus and pita bread.

In keeping with tradition, the festival will again offer four pita wraps – chicken kebab, beef kafta, beef shawarma and falafel.

Famed musicians such as Mitch Kaltsunas, Marwan Zgheib and Maurice Chedid will be the featured performers from Friday through Sunday.

The festival will additionally offer a grand raffle prize of $1,000, as well as $500 and $250 for the second and third prizes.

For more information, visit stgeorgemaronitecatholicchurch.com.

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