ST. ELIAS LEBANESE FESTIVAL ~ Celebrating a Century of Commitment

The 19th annual Lebanese Festival is more than a community-wide event, it’s the 100th birthday of St. Elias Church, and everybody’s invited to help celebrate.  The festival will be held June 2-4 at St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church, 4730 Cove Road, N.W., Roanoke.

Since 1917, Lebanese have given back to this community in many ways: state legislators, merchants, Virginia’s Most Decorated Soldier of WWII, service on the county board of supervisors and the Roanoke City Council.   To mark the 100 year anniversary, the first 100 visitors in line each day will get a free serving of baklawa, the traditional Lebanese dessert.

The popular festival, a Roanoke Valley tradition, features delicious Lebanese food, live Lebanese music and traditional Lebanese folk dancers in full costume. For the 13th year, WDBJ7 will again sponsor the festival, rain or shine.  Hours are Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.  Admission and parking are free with a moderate charge for food and children’s activities.

Menu offerings include a yogurt cucumber salad, spinach-feta pies, falafel, grilled lamb and beef kabobs, various desserts and delicious Lebanese pastries.   Kibbeh, considered the Middle Eastern signature dish, will be back on the menu again this year, plus a surprise Feature Dish every day, each in limited supply.

Takeout will be available throughout the day and evenings for food orders (order on-line or use forms on the website–fax to 540-562-1300).  Some items will also be available frozen in bulk as “Frozen to Go” food to take home and enjoy.

Activities this year will include “Dabke” (Lebanese line dance) instruction and Lebanese food cooking demonstrations as well as a Silent Auction with items from local businesses, gift baskets and restaurant gift certificates. Children will enjoy an inflated obstacle course, face painting and a cake walk among other activities. The Samer Jazrawy Band, led by a parishioner who is a professional musician, will provide the rhythmic Lebanese music that gets everyone up and dancing.

Tours of the church will cover the rich history of Maronite Catholicism, one of the oldest churches within Christianity, including a display of stained glass windows and icons.  “A Taste of Lebanon” area will display unusual musical instruments, colorful rugs, a hookah and other ethnic items.

For more information, visit the website: or contact St. Elias Church at 540-562-0012.