North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

October 31, 2012

Brookside Russian food festival this weekend

By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News

BROOKSIDE — A historic north Jefferson church is celebrating its roots this weekend by offering up authentic Russian food.

The St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Brookside is holding its thirtieth annual food festival Saturday and Sunday.

“The ladies have been working pretty hard on baking and cooking items for the festival,” said the Very Reverend Archpriest Father Benedict Tallant, priest at St. Nicholas for 50 years. “They will start again on Friday to get everything ready so it will be fresh.”

Members of the Sisterhood of St. Olga, who are members of the church, are making all of the food by hand.

Tallant said his favorites are kolbasa and halushki (dumplings).

Other items on the menu are schi (cabbage and meat soup), borscht (beet vegan soup), blini (rolled pancake with filling), pigachi (potato and cheese flat bread with herbs) and more. There will also be desserts and drinks.

Tallant said the festival started out small, but has grown in popularity in its three decades, with people traveling from throughout Alabama and from other states to participate.

“We have a good reaction from everybody,” Tallant said. “We just want everybody to know they’re welcome. We hope they have a good time.”

In addition to the food, Tallant will give tours of the church building, which is filled with history.

Also, on Sunday at 3 p.m., “Russian beauty” dancers from Nataliya Russo Dance Arts will perform traditional Russian dances.

There will also be a store selling authentic Russian items including books, Christmas ornaments, dolls and more.

The festival is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 pm. For the first time, major credit cards will be accepted at the festival this year.

St. Nicholas is at the corner of Pastor Street and Park Avenue in Brookside.

For more information, including a complete menu and directions to the church, visit or call the church at (205) 285-9648.