Food festivals are back! Here are two this weekend, one with free admission, parking

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If the State Fair is back, fall food festivals can’t be far behind.

Outdoor festivals featuring everything from barbecue to baklava are coming up the next few weeks, starting with two major events this weekend:

The Mid-Cities Greek FoodFest, at 29 one of the oldest food festivals in the cities between Dallas and Fort Worth, returns Friday through Sunday with dinners for $12-$24 at 303 Cullum Drive, Euless (admission is free).

The Fort Worth Food + Wine Fesrival, a charity benefit for culinary scholarships, hosts $100-$200 events including drinks daily Friday through Sunday at 5000 Clearfork Main St.

The Mid-Cities festival is first up among the season’s outdoor food festivals and holiday bake sales.

It’s followed by a Romanian Food Festival Nov. 6 in Colleyville, then by the Fort Worth Greek Festival Nov 12-14.

Dancers at the Mid-Cities Greek FoodFest.
Dancers at the Mid-Cities Greek FoodFest.

“This year is exciting because we’re the first Greek festival out of the gate,” said Michael Eftimie, kitchen chief for the annual Mid-Cities festival. It features music, Greek beers and wines, Ouzo slushes and cocktails.

Unlike other cities’ commercial festivals, the Mid-Cities event is cozy, friendly and homespun, with most of the food and baked goods made by Eftimie and volunteers from the local Greek Orthodox church.

They’ve been baking 5,000 baklava servings every day to get ready, volunteer Cynthia Morakis Pursley said.

“People say they love our festival because it’s intimate and the lines aren’t crazy,” she said.

A sample platter of Greek favorites at a Mid-Cities Greek FoodFest.
A sample platter of Greek favorites at a Mid-Cities Greek FoodFest.

The dinner feature is a combo platter with baked chicken, a beef kebab, dolmades, spinach pie, cheese pie, salad and pita ($24).

The menu also includes gyros ($8), a lamb-beef-feta burger ($10), sausages ($8) and baked pastas ($6) such as pastitsio and moussaka.

The desserts include baklava sundaes ($5).

The parking is free. And it’s easy to come and go most of the day. This festival takes cash and credit cards, not a token system.

Eftimie also does Greek cooking demonstrations for easy dishes such as a white-bean hummus or Greek meatballs.

The festival is facing some of the same supply problems as restaurants, he said.

“We’re like everyone else — there are some shortages,” he said.

The Euless church is trying to do everything like the original festival in 1992.

(A note about the name: The Hurst-Euless area along Texas 10 was originally nicknamed the “Mid-Cities,” and the area eventually included newer Bedford.)

The festival will serve lunch and dinner Friday and Saturday, lunch Sunday; 817-283-2291, midcitiesgreekfest.info.

Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival

The annual Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival moved to fall this year with three charity evens at the Heart of the Ranch near the Shops at Clearfork.

The three events:

Taco. Beer. Repeat., 6-9 p.m. Oct. 22, $100: Tacos and craft beer by 18 chefs, including Chris Garcia of Del Norte Tacos, Mary Vasquez of Enchiladas Olé, Gabriel DeLeon of Mi Día From Scratch and Juan Rodríguez of Magdalena’s.

Gameday Gourmet, 2-5 p.m. Oct. 23, $100: Smoked meats and “tailgate favorites” by 18 chefs, including Jon Bonnell of Bonnell’s, Juan Ramón Cárdenas of the forthcoming Don Artemio prime steakhouse, Derrick Walker of highly ranked Smoke-A-Holics BBQ and Stefon Rishel of Wishbone & Flynt.

Bluegrass Brunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 24, $200: A five-course brunch with beverages, featuring the fine-dining team of Ellerbe Fine Foods chef Molly McCook and Grace chef Blaine Staniford, plus other chefs including Shannon and Austin Odom of Oma Leen’s in Walnut Springs.

It’s limited to diners 21 and older. Tickets are sold only at fortworthfoodandwinefestival.com.

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