Writer / David E. Sumner
The 23rd annual St. George Festival on Sept. 20-22 presents “a heritage of faith, hospitality, good food, music and crafts from our roots in the Holy Land, the Middle East and the cultures that make up our congregation,” according to the Rev. Fr. Nabil Hanna, pastor.
The family-oriented festival includes ethnic food booths, a live Middle Eastern band, adult and children’s dance troupes, marketplace and a children’s carnival on the front lawn with shaded adult seating areas.
One new feature this year is a return of the indoor marketplace and pastry booth in the air-conditioned parish hall. The Silent Auction is also back by popular demand and will feature different items each day.
Shuttle buses will run continuously from offsite parking five minutes away at 10401 East 116th Street. Ron Freeman is a bus host who converted from a Protestant church to Orthodox Christianity last year with his wife, Loni.
“I have the opportunity to really set the stage for what visitors are going to experience. I’m a good talker, and I like that,” Ron says.
He explains a little about St. George, its history and the church’s ethnic makeup. While the church’s roots are in the Middle East, almost half its members are converts. But they also include immigrants from a dozen countries in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia.
The church’s bookstore will be open daily. Indoor hosts will explain more about the Orthodox faith and the church’s unique architectural design and iconography, which was painted by Greek iconographers after the church’s construction in 2013.
Food booths will offer gyros, kafta, chicken shawarma and falafel sandwiches. Platters choices will include lamb shanks, a mezza royale plate and a mecca vegetarian plate. Ala carte items include hummus, baked kibbee, stuffed grape leaves (meat and vegetarian) and spinach pies. The pastry shop will have a mouth-watering assortment of Middle Eastern pastries such as baklawa, honey roasted mixed nut bars, galaktoburko, custered filo pastry, kaak, makaroon, and ghouribeh. A complete menu is available at stgfest.org.
The times for the St. George Festival are Sept. 20, 5:00-10:00 pm, Sept. 21, 1:00 to 10:00 pm and Sept. 22, 1:00-5:00 pm.
The event is free to attend. Offsite parking is $5 at Journey Lutheran Ministries, 10401 East 116th Street (within walking distance). Shuttle buses will run continuously. Service animals only.
St. George Orthodox Christian Church is located at 10748 E. 116th Street in Fishers.
For more information, visit stgfest.org or call 317-845-7755.