Greater Dayton Lebanese Festival returns this weekend at new location

The Greater Dayton Lebanese Festival, presented by St. Ignatius of Antioch Maronite Catholic Church, returns Aug. 26-28 at its new location on the corner of State Route 48 and Nutt Road in Washington Twp.

“We’re looking forward to seeing our patrons again,” said Will Thomas, vice chair of the Greater Dayton Lebanese Festival. “People have a great time at our festival. They love to linger around and stay a long time for the entertainment.”

This year’s festival returns full force after a hiatus of drive-thru events due to the coronavirus pandemic. Festivalgoers can expect homemade food, drinks, carnival rides and live entertainment.

“Our food is famous because it’s all 100 percent homemade,” Thomas said. “It’s made fresh. You can really taste the difference. If you like the way it smells, you won’t believe how delicious it tastes.”

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Popular dishes include the Kafta Kabob, Kibbee balls and the Beef and Chicken Shawarma sandwiches. The festival also has several vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes including Hummus, Spinach Pies, Stuffed Grape Leaves and Fattoush Salad.

“Of course, you can’t leave the Lebanese Festival without eating our world-famous Lebanese Baklava and pastries,” Thomas added.

Anyone interested in pre-ordering food can do so on the festival’s website starting Monday, Aug. 22. Thomas mentioned they will not have meals this year because they do not have a commercial kitchen. Guests will be able to purchase food as sandwiches and side orders.

Live entertainment at the festival includes Middle Eastern music and performances by the St. Ignatius Youth Dance Troupe. There will also be a variety of vendors including community non-profits.

Festivalgoers will also have the chance to tour the church and learn about the history of the Maronites.

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The Lebanese Festival offers free admission and parking. Overflow parking with a free shuttle service will be available at Oak Grove Park, Lot I.

Thomas said when the church invites people to the festival, they feel like they’re inviting them into their home.

“We feel like everyone comes as a friend and family and we like to treat them that way,” Thomas said. " It’s a Middle Eastern-Lebanese characteristic.”

An opening ceremony featuring the USAF Honor Guard and the singing of the United States and Lebanese National Anthems will kick off the festival Friday at 5 p.m. Festival hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. There will be a Maronite Catholic Mass open to the public at 10 a.m. Sunday.

For more information, visit www.thelebanesefestival.com or the festival’s Facebook page.

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