With such a large, dispersed diaspora, local “Lebanese” festivals are quite common from Brazil to Australia, to Mexico and across Europe and Asia. But this one from Halifax in Canada really tops it all:

This year’s Lebanese Festival packs in more events than lamb in a shawarma.

I do not know if I should laugh or cry.

The festival, now in its ninth year, features everything from traditional Lebanese dance competitions to a water-drinking tournament — in addition, of course, to the food.

Water-drinking tournament? So its traditional Lebanese dance, and traditional Lebanese food, and traditional Lebanese water-drinking tournament? If anyone can enlighten me with the rules of this traditional game, other than drinking as much water as you can without dying, I would appreciate it.

And finally, the icing on the cake:

Festival spokeswoman Christina Israel said this year’s event also includes a lottery in which festival goers can win trips to Lebanon or New York City.

Other than the fact that her last name is Israel (which is how the the spokeswomen is referred to in the rest of the article), you can either win a trip to a destination that is 950km away or one that is 8,000km away. It’s kind of like living in Beirut and the prize is either a trip to Istanbul or Vladivostok in Russia; I fail to see the comparison or the decision process of choosing the prize (in anticipation of any possible comments, no, there is no way New York City and Beirut are on the same par).

Since the festival is taking place this Sunday, it wouldn’t be complete without Lebanon’s number one pastime (every four years):

Israel added Sunday’s World Cup final game between the Netherlands and Spain will be broadcast on several big screen televisions rented for the occasion.

Now that’s what I call a Lebanese Festival.

The Lebanese Festival junior high dancers rehearse at the Olympic Community Centre yesterday. The ninth annual Lebanese Festival begins today with a 4 p.m. blessing of the festival site. Ryan Taplin/Metro Halifax

The Lebanese Festival junior high dancers rehearse at the Olympic Community Centre yesterday. The ninth annual Lebanese Festival begins today with a 4 p.m. blessing of the festival site. Ryan Taplin/Metro Halifax