Saint Maron's Lebanese Festival This Weekend in South Philadelphia

St. maron's Lebanese Festival Poster
St. Maron's Lebanese Festival takes place June 14-16 in South Philadelphia

South Philadelphia’s famed Italian Market area isn’t just for Italians; it’s been a mix of nationalities since it opened in the mid-1880s. For the last 38 years, that same neighborhood’s Lebanese community celebrates its culture with the Saint Maron's Lebanese Festival, an annual event run with help from the Tayoun family, long respected for its involvement in Philadelphia’s arts and politics. This year, Tayoun brothers Bill and Joseph pull out all the stops when their Mid-East Ensemble plays the festival, held outdoors at 10th and Ellsworth Streets from June 14-16.

There’s always dancing, crafts and carnival games at Saint Maron’s Lebanese Festival, and kids and parents alike also show up for the food: hummus, kebabs, baba ghanooj, and a variety of sweets. This year, for the first time, a full bar has been brought in for the party, including the legendary Lebanese beer Almaza, a rarity in these parts. With that, it sounds as if the adults are going to have just as many laughs as the children, and they won’t have to hit the Moon Bounce to do so. St. Maron's Lebanese Festival Hours are Friday June 14, 5-11 PM; Saturday June 15, Noon to 11 PM; Sunday June 16, Noon to 9 PM.

The Mid-East Ensemble will play the festival throughout the day on Sunday, June 16. Helmed by the Tayoun brothers, Bill (keyboardist) and Joseph (percussionist), the band is renowned for playing traditional classics of Lebanese music. The brothers are also known for their less traditional, but no-less-ethnically-informed rock band called Barakka, which features some of the same members as their Mid-East Ensemble.

This week, Barakka released a video for their new single, "Agit" (which translates to "Lament"), an anti-war song sung in Turkish with a chorus translated into the phrase "There must be another way." The video was directed by Marc Brodzik’s Woodshop Studios, and features lyric translation when viewed on YouTube (scroll down for the video, shown below).

Fans of the Tayouns’ music can also catch Barakka for free outside of the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (3260 South Street, 215.898.4000) on Wednesday, June 26 at 5 PM, as part of their summer concert series .

Video ©Barakka 2013

Posted on Saturday, June 15, 2013