City Scene Photo Fun St George Food Fest Church Tour Rosalie Ritchey 1

2,000 Pieces of Falafel & SO MUCH MORE!

City Scene

<em>Saint George's 36th Annual Middle Eastern Food Festival takes place September 15-16, 425 16th Ave. S., <a href=""></a>. (Courtesy: John B. Manos)</em>
Saint George’s 36th Annual Middle Eastern Food Festival takes place September 15-16, 425 16th Ave. S., (Courtesy: John B. Manos)

It’s no exaggeration that the parish community of Saint George Melkite Catholic Church prepares tons of food for its annual Middle Eastern Food Festival set for September 14, 15 and 16. For thirty-six years Saint George parishioners have prepared and served homemade Middle Eastern food to thousands of visitors from Birmingham and its surrounding areas. The festival’s ever popular spicy vegetarian delicacy, Falafels, is made with a family recipe. “We use 100 pounds of dry chick peas for the falafel,” explains Falafel Chair Hilweh Shunnarah adding, “We have to have 80 pounds of onion, 15 pounds of garlic, 5 boxes of fresh parsley and hot peppers too!” Other popular menu items include Kibbee, a meat entrée made with ground round of beef, onions, cracked wheat and special spices. And don’t forget desserts like baklawa, a delicate pastry filled with nuts, and Zalabieh, a homemade fried doughnut prepared freshly on sight. Festival activities include live entertainment on Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening as well as shopping which includes a variety of handmade crafts, Byzantine icons, and olive wood artifacts from the Holy Land.

The free admission festival takes place near UAB at 425 16th Avenue South. Festival hours of operation are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and church tours are offered each day until 8 p.m. The festival also has convenient drive through service (11 a.m.-7 p.m.) and lunch orders of $75 or more can be delivered to the downtown area on Thursday and Friday. For takeout and delivery orders call 205-492-9621 or visit

Proceeds will benefit local charities including, Three Hots and A Cot, Pathways of Birmingham, and Habitat for Humanity. The Food Festival also enables the parish to feed the homeless, prepare hot meals for women in shelters, provide diapers and other paper products to local charities, and sponsor an “Angel Tree” at Christmas. For further information, visit


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