St. Anne's food festival will take taste buds around the world with diverse cuisine
International cuisine will arrive at Carroll County's doorstep next weekend.
St. Anne Catholic Church will host its "Almost Famous International Food Festival" from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Berryville Community Center.
Jennifer Feltmann, one of the festival organizers, said the event will be like an old-fashioned church festival. She said the festival will have carnival games, a dunk tank, a bounce house and a train ride.
"We will have some live music inside, but outside we will have a DJ," Feltmann said. "If that turns into a street dance, that would be awesome."
She said the festival also will include a silent auction featuring unique arts and crafts, donated items and possibly some puppies.
"My personal favorite part is the food," Feltmann said. "That's why it's called the 'Almost Famous International Food Festival.' "
She said St. Anne's congregation unites a variety of nationalities under one roof. The food available at the festival will reflect that diversity, she said.
"From El Salvador, we'll have papusas. From Mexico, we will have tamales, tacos and enchiladas. We'll have Guatemalan empanadas, Vietnamese egg rolls, lasagna from Italy and good old U.S. barbecue ribs," Feltmann said.
The best part, she said, is that all of the food is authentic.
"It's not somebody borrowing someone's recipe or getting it off the Internet," Feltmann said. "This is what's been handed down through their families from their home countries."
She said the church is taking pre-orders for the tamales, which are one of the most popular dishes at the festival each year. Feltmann said people can order a dozen for $12 and can place their pre-orders by calling Regina Morris at the church at 870-423-3927.
"I think we sold about 5,000 last year," Feltmann said. "You can order your dozen and set those aside to take home later. That's the cool thing."
For the rest of the meals, she said the festival will have two plate sizes available: a regular sized plate for $8 and a light plate for $5. The regular plate will come with one entree, two sides, a choice of either tea or lemonade to drink and a dessert. The light plate will come with a smaller portion of the entree, one side, tea or lemonade and a dessert.
"Those desserts will also be homemade," Feltmann said. "Our congregation will be bringing those, and we'll have a sort of cakewalk where they'll be giving those away."
There will also be extra items available for $2, she said.
"So if someone has a rib plate but wants to add a papusa or an empanada, we'll have a way for them to go through and do that," Feltmann said.
She continued, "Restaurants can't compare to what's coming out at this festival, and, for the price, it's a great deal."
She said the festival will be taking place between the soccer field and the main building at the community center with the food being served out of the banquet hall. While the festival is taking place, Feltmann said, a soccer tournament will be held on the fields.
"There will be trophies and medals awarded for the soccer tournament," she said. "I'm excited about that. It's food, fun and futbol. What more could you ask for?"
Feltmann said the soccer tournament will focus on youth soccer this year, but the church is interested in expanding that to include an adult soccer tournament in the future.
She said the food festival began several years ago when Shaun Wesley was serving as the priest for the parish.
"Father Shaun was instrumental in getting it started," Feltmann said. "He basically said 'We need a party, and we need food.' A lot of it centered around a love of food and particularly a love of food from a variety of cultures."
She said the festival was created as an opportunity to share fellowship not just within the church but with the community.
"It's a chance for us all to celebrate together," Feltmann said. "That's part of why we're having it at the community center. We want to make sure the entire community knows that they're welcome."
She said the money raised by the festival will go toward expanding the church's youth program.
"We want to provide our teens with some more opportunities," Feltmann said. "Father Joseph Archivong, our current priest, is making a huge impact on our youth and a positive impact on our community. In fact, he's emphasizing that he is going to be in the dunk tank during the festival."
Planning the festival also has provided great fellowship for members of the parish, she said. The organizers split up into teams to coordinate different parts of the festival, she said.
"Everyone is working so well together. It is already such a benefit to our parish just for the fellowship we're getting out of planning it," Feltmann said. "I hope that our enthusiasm spills over into the festival so everyone can have a really good time."
The community has also chipped in to help, she said, with Tyson donating chicken for some of the dishes and local restaurants donating beans, rice and salsa.
While the festival runs from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., she said food will be served from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in order to give the servers enough time to clean up and vacate the building by 8 p.m.
"The festival runs until 8 p.m. officially, but, if we're having a good time outside, we will continue until we're through," Feltmann said with a laugh.
She continued, "Everyone is welcome. It ought to be a really good time."