Five Reasons to Visit Austin's Mediterranean Festival
Here are five reasons why foodies should attend Mediterranean Festival in Austin, Texas.
St. Elias Orthodox Church, 408 East 11th St., TX
For more than eighty years, the St. Elias Mediterranean Festival has been bringing to Austin the food, music, and culture of the Mediterranean and Middle East, and the festival will be back again this year for another two days of fun and festivities on the grounds of St. Elias Orthodox Church in downtown Austin.
Established in the 1930's as a bake sale/fundraiser for the building of St. Elias Orthodox Church in downtown Austin, the Mediterranean Festival has become the longest continuous festival in all of Central Texas. Some festival goers have been attending "MedFest" for thirty years or more! Many of the community's founding families are still involved in making the Festival a reality and the place for Austin to meet Mediterranean culture year after year after year.
The Festival opens on Saturday for lunchtime with food and live music, making it the perfect place for families to be on a Saturday afternoon. For the younger set, there's a Kids' Oasis where they can play games, win prizes, and even have their faces painted, and Austin-based Snapology will be there with interactive LEGO®-based activities. This is a great opportunity to introduce kids to the tastes, sights, and fun dancing of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern culture.
The Austin Chronicle named the St. Elias Mediterranean Festival one of Central Texas' Top Ten Food Festivals. From dolmas and gyros to loukaniko and tzatziki, there are a variety of foods from the Mediterranean region and Middle East: kefta, kibbee, and the ever-popular falafel, as well as the unique and savory offerings of Eritrean cuisine, deliciously stewed meats and vegetables served on a bed of enjera. When you're ready for dessert a wide array of pastries from baklava to mamoul will be there to tempt your palate, and who can resist a cup of delicious Italian gelato? In the words of one festival-goer, "Come hungry, and try everything."
Food is not the only fantastic treat! Try a cocktail recipe specially designed just for the Mediterranean Festival or choose from a wide selection of wine or beer hand-picked for your enjoyment. Want a boost? Try the rich and complex flavors of a warm cup of cardamom-infused traditional Arabic coffee.
All filled up with food and wine? Then sit back and relax to tunes of Layalina, Austin's own Middle Eastern folk band. Watch the dancing demonstrations by the UT Dabke dance troup, or get up and dance yourself to the traditional Greek music played lived by the LAAND Band. DJ Ahmed will be there in the evenings to keep the party going, pulsing out the eclectic sounds of Arabic dance music. It's a party at MedFest, and everyone is invited!
About Emily Poole
Emily Poole has been writing & blogging for over ten years, and assists with photography and social media for the St. Elias Mediterranean Festival in Austin, Texas.