Mediterranean festival to become more festival-ish

Kafta will be added to the menu at Saturday’s Mediterranean Festival at St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church.

The annual Mediterranean Festival at St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church — a celebration of Mediterranean food — will be a little different than it’s been in the past.

For one, the festival — which is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday  at the church, 344 S. Martinson – will be put on for just one day rather than two. The Orthodox Easter, which was last weekend, conflicted with the preparation schedule, necessitating the change this year.

Also, organizers this year are trying to make the festival a little bit more festival-ish. In the past, attendees ordered food, ate food and left. This year, the event will feature an outdoor tent, where people can dine al fresco, listen to Arabic music and watch Arabic dancing. They also can watch and sniff as church members grill kafta and chicken kebabs. (Kafta - lean ground beef, mixed with onion and spices, then grilled and served in a pita with a garlicky minty sauce – has been added to the menu this year. Stuffed grape leaves have been taken off.)

“When people hear the words, ‘Mediterranean Festival,’ they expect dancing and music and fun, not just walking through a buffet line and getting food,” said Alison Pike, one of the orgnaizers. “We are trying to make it feel more like a true festival.”

Attendees can order items such as kibbe, baklawa and meat pies a la carte in advance by calling ll 316-264-1576. They also can show up and dine in, either indoors or outdoors, or carry out. The festival also features a “market,” which will be expanded this year, that sells items such as pita bread, salad dressing and more.