by Emily Hiltz
It’s that time of year again! Halifax’s Lebanese Festival (July 11-14, Olympic Community Hall, 2304 Hunter Street) is busy preparing for its 12th anniversary and as always, it has many new additions to share with the city.
Nicole Khoury, directory chair for the festival, suggests that people should definitely check out the opening ceremonies, Thursday July 11th at 7pm, because this year it’s bigger than ever. “We’ve never done a big showcase for our opening ceremonies before and we’ve never showcased everything that we have,” says Khoury. “This year we are putting everybody in the show.”
A wine tasting event has also been added to the festival where five Lebanese wines will be showcased (Saturday, July 13, 5:30pm, $25). This is one of the events that Khoury is looking forward to most. “I’ve never tried these Lebanese wines,” says Khoury. “But, everybody talks about the rich taste and how it reminds them of being in Lebanon.”
The festival has something for the little ones in the family too! The site is set up into sections, with the children’s section offering security detail for any parents who want to drop their children off and enjoy the festival solo. The kiddy corner has many activities including a bouncy castle, face painting and arcade games.
Of course, food continues to be a big draw for some people and this year shawarma is being added to the menu. The public will still be able to get their tasty favorites including tabbouli, which is one of the festival’s most popular items.
This festival committee has changed their focus a little this year, placing their efforts on the décor at the venue. “We took some pictures in Lebanon and had them blown up,” says Khoury. “We’re going to be focusing on the site and being a more welcoming festival. We want people to feel comfortable coming in for the first time.”
Last year the festival brought in over 250 volunteers while a whopping 25, 000 attendees enjoyed the festivities. Khoury says she believes the festival remains strong because the focus is on the city of Halifax.
“People think we have the festival for us but we don’t,” says Khoury. “We bring the festival for Halifax so everybody else can experience the food, culture and entertainment. We feel so welcome in Halifax and we want to do something for the people in return.”