Organizers of this year's International Food Festival are hoping for crowds at least as big as the one that attended last year's event.
CLAYTON -- On Saturday, food lovers can spend the day sampling dishes from 19 different countries – all without leaving Johnston County.
St. Ann Catholic Church is hosting their 5th annual International Food Festival featuring food and entertainment from various locations around the world. The event is open to the public from 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and will offer a sampling of homemade fare prepared by parishioners.
“This is not pot luck,” explained event co-chair Ann Grossman. “It’s an upscale food event with set menus at each booth. Parishioners running the stations are directly from that country or it’s their heritage.”
Each 5 oz. portion of food will cost $3 and all monies raised will benefit the church.
Foodies will enjoy tasting Lemon Grass Chicken from Vietnam, Chicken Tikka Masala and Tandori Naan at India’s booth or Coq au Vin and Crepes au Nutella et Banane in France.
There will also be traditional fare from other countries including El Salvador, Greece, Honduras, Mexico, Thailand and Ireland. New offerings this year will be from Jamaica, Nigeria and Peru. An American venue will sell the ever popular hot dog in both North Carolina and New York varities. To complete the meals, an International Desserts venue will offer treats representing all of the countries.
Nearly 500 volunteers from St. Ann have been hard at work since April to make the event a success. In the days leading up to the festival, teams of 10-15 from each food station have gathered to hand make hundreds of meatballs, egg rolls and pierogi in anticipation of hungry crowds. Last year’s festival drew 3,000 people from across the Triangle area, according to Grossman.
“Everyone’s really excited about this event,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun and a great way for fellowship. It’s nice for our parish to have this kind of diversity.”
Music and dance numbers will complement the food with a variety of tunes from around the world. Music lovers can take in the lively Celtic songs from Barrowburn, steel drum Caribbean music courtesy of Mickey Mills and the sounds of the Los Galleros de Mexico mariachi band. Festival goers will also enjoy performances by Irish step dancers, Spanish guitar players and an African drumming group.
Patrons will receive a free festival guide which maps out the food venue locations and day’s entertainment schedule. Café tents will be set up in the center of the complex to provide a shaded place to eat and relax.
Organizers said children will find lots to do in a roped off games area featuring a horse derby, face painting, cake walk and dinosaur dig. Everyone will receive a prize.
Raffle tickets will be on sale for $5. Cash prizes and a new I-Pad will be up for grabs. A silent auction will also be held.
Admission is free and parking will be provided on-site. St Ann Catholic Church is located at 4057 U.S 70. For more information on the International Food Festival, visit internationalfoodfestival.net.