Thousands of people flooded into Glen Allen to attend the 34th Annual Lebanese Food Festival from May 18th to My 20th. The festival has been serving authentic Lebanese culture to the Richmond area for thirty-four consecutive years now, providing cuisine, music, family fun, and other live entertainment.
The Lebanese Food Festival is mostly known for the myriad of different foods available to taste. Some more conventional favorites include lamb kabobs, cheese pies, hummus, and cucumber salad. However, the Festival also offered some more exotic options that are culturally specific to the Middle East, such as Zaatar bread, Shawirma, and falafel.
There were many options on how to approach dining on the festival’s diverse and delicious menu. Customers could peruse the grounds of the St. Anthony’s Maronite Church and taste items a-la-carte, which seemed to be the popular choice. Festival-goers could also choose to enjoy a boxed meal that would include four mini courses for only ten dollars.
After finishing with their lunch or dinner, a vast majority of customers lingered to nibble on dessert, which is another one of the Lebanese Food Festival’s massive attractions. The festival presents a large assortment of Lebanese pastries and sweets which continue to be overall a best-seller. Year after consecutive year, the favorite dessert is Zalabia: fried dough served with sugar, Middle East spices, and a special syrup. Other best-loved confections include baklava and Kataif.
Although it is in the title, appetizing food is not the only magnetism that the Lebanese Food Festival has to offer. A family-friendly atmosphere and general family fun is the main goal of the festival. Guests are immediately greeted by lively Middle Eastern music and dancing to provide a view into both traditional and modern Lebanese culture.
I visited the Lebanese Food Festival on Sunday evening, and despite the rainy weather all weekend, the crowds were still massive. Richmond’s enthusiasm for the festival was apparent as the grounds were bustling and the people were lively. I tried a variety of foods: Bubbaghanooge, a spinach and cheese pie, Loubiyeh and rice, Zalabia, and baklava. All of the main dishes were accompanied by one or two thick slices of pita bread as well.
When May of 2019 rolls round, myself as well as the rest of the Richmond populace would definitely recommend visiting the 35th Annual Lebanese Food Festival! The festival will undoubtedly serve up amazing food and entertainment again next year.