Annual Lebanese Dinner at St. George set for Feb. 25

Published 8:19 pm Thursday, February 7, 2019

What began in 1959 as a fundraiser to help pay a mortgage has become a Vicksburg tradition.

The 59th Lebanese Dinner at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 2709 Washington St., draws about 3,500 people annually who come for a taste of Middle East cuisine.

This year’s dinner is Feb. 25, with lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. People can dine at the church or take their meals back to work or home.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Tickets are $13 and sold at the door at lunch only, said Rhonda Wright, one of the dinner chairmen. Tickets for evening dinner are available by calling the church at 601-636-2483.

“If no one is at the church, leave a message,” Wright said. “They will hold the tickets and will put the person’s name and how many tickets they want with the amount and put that in an envelope. It will be at the door.”

Menu for the dinner is cabbage rolls, baked kibbe, tabooli salad, green beans with tomato sauce and pita bread. Lebanese sweets will be available for sale during the dinner.

“A lot of people say, ‘We want you to do this more than once a year,’” Wright said, “But it’s a big undertaking. We’ve started cooking, a lot of things have to be done ahead of time.

“We make a lot of the sweets, and the kibbe is made and we have to freeze it, and then we’ll take it out and reheat it for the dinner. The weekend of the dinner, we roll cabbage rolls and we’ll roll close to 13,000 of those.”

The idea for the dinner, parishioner Frances Thomas said, was to raise money to pay off the mortgage on the church.

“We had a new church and had gotten a new priest, and the women of the church were very strong at the time,” she said. “We decided we wanted to help pay for the church.”

The first dinner, she said, drew about 150 people, “And it just grew from that.”

In the beginning, Thomas said, different ladies would prepare certain things at their homes and put the meal together at the church.

“There would be times after the lunch we would get together again and prepare more for the night meals,” she said.

“I guess about 10 years ago, we decided to get everyone together (at the church’s kitchen) on certain days and we would fix the cabbage rolls one day and the kibbe one day. That’s how it worked out.”

“Meals are now prepared at the church,” Thomas said, adding a lot of times, friends will come and help, “But it’s basically the church people.”

“We enjoy it,” Wright said. “We enjoy the camaraderie of the people, but it’s a good fundraiser for our church.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John