News / Halifax

Let's speak baklava: Lebanese Festival bringing music, dancing, food to Halifax

A bit of Jefferson Airplane will be heard drifting around the corner of Windsor and Cunard streets in Halifax this weekend alongside the smells of tabouli, baklava and shawarma during the Lebanese Festival.

Spokeswoman Nicole Khoury said a top attraction for the 13th annual event is Mayssa Karaa coming from Los Angeles to perform at the closing ceremonies Sunday night.

Karaa’s Arabic version of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit appeared in the film American Hustle.

“That’s pretty awesome,” Khoury said, adding the closing ceremonies themselves are a new feature.

Food is always a big draw, Khoury said, and there will be some tasty hybrid creations like baklava cheesecake as well as a new lamb shawarma to accompany the popular chicken one introduced last year.

“These two things alone I feel will bring everybody knocking,” Khoury laughed.

The Lebanese wine tasting on Saturday night is $25, Khoury said, but participants get to try five different types of wine and sample everything from the food menu.

Folk dancing, drumming, and a singing competition will be featured Friday to Sunday at the festival grounds at the Olympic Community Centre, and Khoury said it’s easy for newcomers to try because everything is free besides the kid’s zone and food or drink.

“You can bring your whole family and everybody will find something that they like,” Khoury said. “At the end of the day, music and food is kind of the language that everybody speaks.”

Khoury said it’s important to keep Lebanese culture alive, especially in Canada because we’re not really “the melting pot, we’re more the mosaic” of culture.

“We’re not tolerated, but we’re embraced, and to us that’s the most beautiful thing,” Khoury said. “Canada is our home and that’s why it’s not the Lebanese Festival that is just for Lebanese people - it’s a Lebanese festival for Halifax.”

For a full schedule of events go to .

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