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If you’ve wanted to learn more about Middle Eastern culture, but you just can’t get the sounds, smells, and tastes from websites and books, you’ll have your chance during the 15th annual Middle Eastern Festival of Indianapolis, from July 16 – 18.
According to the festival’s website, the 2009 festival was chosen as a “#1 Best Bet” for entertainment events by both the Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis Monthly magazine. I have to confess that despite living in Indianapolis for four years, I never even knew about the festival until last year when it ended. I’m hoping to change that and go this year.
Organized by the St. George Orthodox Christian Church, the festival promises exotic foods, like lamb shanks, falafel, gyros, grape leaves, and spanakopita. (A full menu of Middle Eastern food is available on their website.) (They also promise baklawa (baklava), which is one of my favorite Middle Eastern desserts.)
You can watch traditional dancers perform, as well as take some quick lessons from Diana Najjar, a choreographer and professional dance teacher, specializing in this Middle Eastern art form.
This may be a July festival, but you can escape the heat in their air conditioned indoor market, and check out their Middle Eastern groceries, jewelry, icons, cookbooks, CDs, and a silent auction. Or visit the bookstore for DVDs and books about Orthodox Christianity. And if this year’s silent auction is anything like past auctions, you’ll want to check it out. Past items have included trips, antiques, electronics, autographed sports memorabilia, and tickets to sporting events around town.
The festival will be held at 4020 N. Sherman Drive, in Indianapolis. Proceeds from the festival will help St. George build their new church on 116th St. You can learn more about the Middle Eastern Festival of Indianapolis at the St. George website.
Have you ever been to the Middle Eastern Festival in Indianapolis? What’s your favorite summer festival in Indiana? Stay tuned because later today, we’ll give you the opportunity to spend some time in Indianapolis this summer!