Popular Dayton cultural festivals become drive-thru carryout events

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, many popular festivals and cultural events have been canceled due to concerns over the spread of the virus in mass gatherings.

However, some of the area’s most popular festivals are altering celebrations to abide by local, state and national coronavirus-related guidelines, including safe distancing, while still ensuring that at least some portion of the festivities will go on.

Three of the most recent additions to this list of altered celebrations still taking place this year are the Greek Festival, Lebanese Festival and the Italian Fall Festa. Each festival celebrates a unique aspect of Dayton’s culture with food and live entertainment.

The Lebanese Festival, put on every year by the St. Ignatius of Antioch Maronite Catholic Church, typically celebrates the Lebanese culture with plenty of food, music, dancing and festival rides. This year, fans of the festival will still be able to enjoy their favorite Lebanese food, with take-out dinners being offered in a drive-thru fashion from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 29 and Aug. 30. This drive-thru lane will take customers to a food booth behind the church, where they will be instructed to text their last name to a festival volunteer at the booth so that their order can be brought out to them. Guests can pre-order online by visiting the Lebanese Festival’s website. A full carryout menu also is available for viewing on the festival’s website.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

The popular Greek Festival also is hosting a similar drive-thru event later this fall. Though some details have yet to be worked out, organizers of the Greek Festival have announced that on Sept. 11-13, fans of the festival will be able to pick up their favorite Greek culinary treats via a drive-thru at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, adjacent to the Dayton Art Institute. When the carryout menu is announced, guests will be able to pre-order on the festival’s website. Stay up to date on all Greek Festival announcements by following the event’s Facebook page.

OPA! We will post more information as it becomes available..stay tuned! We love you Dayton!

Posted by Dayton Greek Festival on Wednesday, July 29, 2020

And organizers of the Italian Fall Festa, a celebration of Italian heritage complete with food and live entertainment, announced on Facebook July 29 that this year’s festival would also offer a drive-thru version of the Festa. Unlike the other two festivals, however, organizers of the Italian Fall Festa promise that, along with food (and plenty of Cannolis!), festival-goers also will be able to view some live entertainment from the comfort (and social distancing) of their cars. The festival, set for Sept. 11-13, will be cash-only. More details will be announced via the festival’s Facebook page.

Previously, organizers of the Germanfest Picnic announced that while in-person celebrations are canceled, a drive-thru and virtual version, called Germanfest Picnic Lite, would still take place Aug. 14-16 at the Dayton Liederkranz Clubhouse, 1400 E. Fifth St. in Dayton. Germanfest food and beer will be available for carryout, with virtual events streaming throughout the weekend on the festival’s Facebook and website.

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