“Ahlan wa sahlan” is what we say to welcome someone in Arabic. It means that you have become part of our family and shall enjoy your time with us. This actually represents in two simple words the experience that our visitors have had at the St. Elias Middle Eastern Festival throughout the years.
We have grown tremendously over the last couple of years and we had great success and record attendance in 2016. We were also nominated as one of the top ethnic festivals in the Syracuse area for 2 years in a row. The success we have enjoyed allowed us to extend the festival with great confidence to four days last year. However, quality always remains our utmost priority. A perfect example for this is the fact that we handpick more than 10,000 grape leaves from the Syracuse area every year, and roll them into stuffed grape leaves…
The Middle Eastern Cultural Festival has served a cuisine of the old world for 87 years. What made us popular over the years are the flavors we bring, and our food being recognized as a heart-healthy “Mediterranean Diet”. We use only fresh ingredients made with organic extra virgin olive oil such as the Tabbouleh salad and the popular oregano-sesame-olive oil flatbread (Man’ousheh).
Several menu items were added and adjusted recently to reflect current food preparation and presentation methods across the Middle East. They include beef tenderloin shish-kabab, garlic aioli spread (Toum) to go with grilled chicken, pita bread panini sandwiches, and savory yogurt spread (Labneh). Knowing our rich culinary heritage and our ladies “made from scratch” home-cooked food, we believe that the quality we present is a great way to promote healthy eating in CNY, as we strive for more authenticity on our menu.
Wine and beer started in the Middle East. Over the recent few years, we have had great success at our festival with “Almaza” beer which has been Lebanon’s number 1 brew since 1933. We added amazing Lebanese wines that will pair well with our food from Chateau Ksara, which was founded by Jesuit monks in 1857.
Pistachio ice cream is a well-known staple in the middle east. We present you a deconstructed version that takes your palate on a ride through the Miské spice, orange blossom and rose water, reminiscent of the flavors found in the middle eastern sweets, which are well represented at our festival.
Live Arabic music and dance group performances from our youth will surely entice you, and our kids zone will keep your children entertained. We invite everyone to explore the “Souk” marketplace, and to tour our church with father Elias and ask him questions regarding the foundation of our faith.
Whether we are dancing or teaching a visitor the traditional Dabke dance, or even trying to make the perfect sandwich, our success comes from our team effort as our parishioners labor together in joy and harmony. We thank you for your attendance and wish to share this joy with all of our visitors for good times and another successful festival.