GLEN ALLEN, Va. (WRIC) — A Central Virginia tradition returns this weekend!

The 38th annual Lebanese Food Festival kicks off in Glen Allen Friday, May 19th, and runs through Sunday, May 21. The festival offers homemade stuffed grape leaves, homemade cheese and spinach pies, kabobs and much more.

“It’s a labor of love,” Sandra Joseph Brown, a festival volunteer, told 8News. “Everything we do, we do authentically by hand. Nothing is outsourced.”

Brown adds that preparation for the festival starts months in advance. Volunteers from St. Anthony Maronite Church spend hours dicing, cooking and preparing thousands of dishes.

Volunteers prepare kabobs ahead of the 38th annual Lebanese Food Festival. (Credit: 8News)

“We start January 31st,” Brown explained. “Our first task is to make the 40,000 pies that many people eat. In fact, we never have leftovers, and it just continues.”

Admission into the festival is free, and includes live music and dancing. Prices of food dishes vary.

Brown says four generations of families make the festival possible.

“We have 300 families here,” Brown said. “Many have come recently from Lebanon, so we are very blessed not only to enrich our culture, but we help enrich their culture. We have our dancers; we have our Middle Eastern beer and wine that’s here. So much of what we have is sent over from Lebanon even though we support the Richmond community also with our vendors.”

The festival is rain or shine, and indoor and outdoor seating is available. Festival hours are:

  • Friday, May 19: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 20: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 21: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Takeout options can be found on the Lebanese Food Festival website.