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Dine on fare from around the world at ethnic festivals

Celebrate Northeast Ohio’s ethnic diversity this month and enjoy some of the best food in town.

Sample authentic Romanian cuisine at St. Mary Romanian Orthodox Cathedral in Cleveland’s West Park/Kamm’s Corners neighborhood on Aug. 16-18.

St. Mary’s eighth annual Romanian Festival features delicacies like grilled mititei, polenta baked with sour cream and cheese, homemade sausage and sauerkraut, roast chicken, chicken paprikash and homemade soups. This year’s volunteers are preparing about 4,000 of the ever-popular stuffed cabbage, using more than 600 pounds of meat.

The women of St. Mary are baking an array of fresh pastries, including the Romanian version of elephant ears. New to this year’s festival are Romanian crepes filled with sweet cheese or jam. Romania’s award-winning wines and beer complement the menu.

A live orchestra will provide musical entertainment all weekend, and there will be folk dancing demonstrations. Tours of the cathedral and ethnic museum will be offered. The museum contains valuable artifacts, including some from the court of Queen Marie of Romania, and beautifully handmade Romanian costumes.

There is free admission and free parking. St. Mary Romanian Orthodox Cathedral is at 3256 Warren Road, just a half-mile south of I-90 at the Warren Road exit. Festival hours are from 4:30 to 11 p.m. Friday, 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Phone 216-941-5550 for details, or visit www.smroc.org.

The celebration of the Feast of the Assumption in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood begins with a 10 a.m. mass on Aug. 15, followed by a procession through the streets. The food stands at Holy Rosary Church and children’s amusement park rides in the church yard open at noon. Parishioners will be serving cavatelli and meatballs throughout the weekend. Restaurants along Murray Hill and Mayfield Road between Euclid Avenue and Cleveland Heights will be preparing a variety of delicious Italian main dishes and pastries. There will be musical entertainment in the streets daily Aug. 15-18, beginning at noon. A candlelight procession at 9:30 p.m. Sunday will be followed by fireworks. Admission is free. More than 100,000 visitors attend the feast annually. Phone 216-421-2995 for information.

Every Labor Day weekend, St. Rocco Church and School, 3205 Fulton Road, features Italian fare, rides for the children and a casino with Texas hold ‘em tournaments. The festival opens at 6 p.m. Aug. 29 and Aug. 30, and at 1 p.m. on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2. The Villa Restaurant in the basement of the church offers homemade lasagna and penne pasta with a delectable red sauce. Restaurant hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Admission is free. Phone 216-961-8331.

St. Elias Melkite Catholic Church, 8023 Memphis Ave., holds its four-day Middle Eastern festival on Labor Day weekend. Church parishioners are of Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian, Palestinian and Jordanian descent. So, featured dishes include tabbouli, kibbeh, hummus, fattoush salad, stuffed grape leaves and falafel, along with a variety of pastries. There are amusement rides, game booths, a casino and Arabic music for dancing. The festival begins at 6 p.m. Aug. 30, and is open from 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. Call 216-661-1155.

Dine on stuffed cabbage and pierogi at the St. John Cantius Polish Festival, 906 College Ave. in Tremont, Aug. 30 through Sept. 1. In addition to the food, there will be Polish folk dance groups, polka dancing with a Polish orchestra and children’s activities. Admission is free. Phone 216-781-9095.

 

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