Armenian food festival returns to Visalia

Guests enjoying plates of Armenian food at one of the previous annual Armenian Food Festivals.(The St. Mary Armenian Church in Yettem)

Indulge in a cultural feast at the 46th Annual Armenian Food Festival at Visalia Elks Lodge, tickets $20 per person

VISALIA – Explore a vibrant tapestry of Armenian cuisine at this year’s Armenian food festival in Visalia, where guests have an opportunity to either broaden their food palettes or simply fulfill a hankering for a warm plate of Armenian food.

Set for Thursday, May 16, the St. Mary Armenian Church in Yettem is cooking up its 46th Annual Armenian Food Festival. The popular event is taking place at the Visalia Elks Lodge situated at 3100 W. Main St. in Visalia.

The festival’s hours are scheduled to accommodate both the lunch and dinner crowds, with lunch being served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“Opportunities like this are a wonderful way to celebrate cultural differences in Tulare County – and what better way to do that than through food,” co-chair of the festival Myron Sheklian said.

Kebabs cooking on the grill at one of the annual Armenian Food Festivals. (The St. Mary Armenian Church in Yettem)

During the festival, guests have the option to dine indoors or make use of the double line drive-through service. The menu features a choice between a lulu kebab – comprising half beef and half lamb ground meat patty – or chicken kebabs, which will be complemented by a green salad, rice pilaf, peda bread and bourma for dessert, a round dough-based dessert studded with nuts and butter.

The meal is available at $20 per person, and tickets can be obtained on-site or via the drive-through, with payment options including cash, check, credit card or Zelle. For anyone with questions, interested individuals are encouraged to reach out to the church office at 559-528-6892.

This is the church’s second year hosting the festival after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on the dine-in option. Sheklian noted the pandemic slowed down the festival to some extent since it only offered the drive-through service, taking away from the sense of community that comes with sitting down and dining together.

However, now that the event is back to in-person dining along with the drive-up service, he said the festival is benefitting much better and as popular as ever, and guests are delighted to have the dine-in option back.

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