A local church will give community members an opportunity to experience the food and cultures of more than a dozen countries all in one place.
St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church will host its 17th annual Parish Food Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the fellowship hall and on church groundsat 728 W. Union St. in Morganton.
“We have a great time at this festival,” said Maureen Austin, the food organizer and church member. “The food is fabulous. Someone told me recently who has been all over the world and is a ‘foodie.’ He has tasted the food at the festival and said that this food is as good as any he has ever tasted, and that includes Chicago and L.A.”
Members of the church, representing 18 countries,will provide authentic food from their homelands. Cost is $1 per ticket. Each food item’s price ranges from one to eight tickets and vary from booth to booth.
Foods from Germany, Indonesia, Philippines, Middle East, the Ivory Coast, India, Cuba, Netherlands and England are set up in the fellowship hall. Foods from Poland, U.S.A., France, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador and the food of the Hmong people are set up outside.
More than 17 years ago, Parish member Maureen Dougher came up with the idea to hold a small Guatemalan festival when a group of Guatemalans came to the church in order for them to get to know each other, Austin said.
“We have a lot of international people in our church, and so many varied countries represented,” Austin said. “It’s a great thing to do to get us all together and enjoy each other’s background and food.”
All attendees, members and non-members of the church, are invited to participate in the “Anything Chocolate-Sweet and Savory” contest held at noon. All items must be submitted before 11:30 a.m. as either sweet or savory. Three judges will select the top three chocolate desserts in each of the categories for prizes. First prize is $50, second prize is $25 and third prize is $15 in each of the categories. All the desserts will then be cut up and sold at the dessert booth.
In addition to the food, church members will provide demonstrations and celebratory dances from traditions passed down from previous generations.
Several raffles will be held, beginning at 2:45 p.m. Raffle tickets cost $5 per ticket or 5 tickets for $20. They will offer the following prizes:
» $1,000 cash prize
» Biltmore Package, which includes four tickets plus $100 cash
» 2018 Premium Flagship Dell Inspiron 15.6 laptop
» $500 Amazon gift card
» $250 Dicks sporting goods gift card
» $250 Ingles gift card
» $250 Walmart gift card
A silent auction will be held throughout the day of the festival and ends at 2 p.m. Many items are available to bid on such as, handmade quilts, Christmas items, bar stools, pictures, jewelry, purses, ceramics, bedding, lamps and more.
“The event is very cohesive,” Austin said. “We know each other and have a good relationship with the people in our Parish. I think for the Morganton community it gives them a chance to see the broad spectrum of cultures and flavors of the people that we have in Morganton so we can get to know everybody.”
Everyone is invited. Admission is free. All funds raised will benefit the church’s general ministry. Shuttles will be available throughout the day from the First Baptist Church parking lot at 502 W. Union St. in Morganton, and from the First Presbyterian Church parking lot at 100 Silver Creek Road in Morganton.
For more information , call Gail Watson or Father Ken Whittington at 828-437-3108 or visit www.saintcharlesborromeo.org.
Barbara Jolly-Deakle is a News Herald c orrespondent and member of the Morganton Writers’ Group. She can be reached at BabbyWrites@CompasCable.net.