Western Galilee Spring Festival returns

 Springtime is festival time in Israel. The month of May brings with it a flurry of festivals and this year, now that we are once again free to tour around the country, the atmosphere is more joyous than ever. One of the events that’s been around the longest is the […]

 Springtime is festival time in Israel. The month of May brings with it a flurry of festivals and this year, now that we are once again free to tour around the country, the atmosphere is more joyous than ever. One of the events that’s been around the longest is the Western Galilee Spring Festival, taking place May 6 to 8. There will be workshops, wine, good food, live performances, guided tours and much more. 

One of the focal points of Spring Festival is the port city of Acre, where visitors can take part in tours led by local guides. Gabi Zohar will be leading a theatrical tour titled “Ghosts in Acre” during which he and the participants will follow clues as they try to interpret mysterious occurrences; Nurit Poram will lead visitors on a culinary tour of the colorful outdoor market; and guests can enjoy a unique Ramadan evening tasting tour with Omri Avidar.  
During the festival week, visitors can join a workshop called ‘Imagination on a Plate’ run by The Secret of the Kibbutz and Tin Time Studio in Kfar Masaryk, during which participants can create a collage out of recycled materials. In addition, guests can join a chocolate-making workshop led by chocolatier Shlomit Zamir from Odette Chocolate and Pralines Boutique. These are just two of a long list of exciting events; below, you will find a few more suggestions of Spring Festival events.  (Photo credit: Meital Sharabi)(Photo credit: Meital Sharabi)

1. MAKOM BALEV 

On the northern bank of Nahal Khziv, you’ll find Makom Balev at Meshek Hefer in Mitzpeh Abirim. Many people who know that Eyal and Edna Hefer have been running a successful camping site for years will be happy to hear that they’ve expanded and built three gorgeous bed and breakfast units. In addition, they also have tomcars (off-road utility vehicles) available for rental. 

It’s clear to everyone who stays at Makom Balev that Eyal and Edna are very special individuals. They rely on an honor system for the cheese and wine that are available for camping/bed and breakfast guests, who are expected to leave cash payment for any items they take out of the common fridge. It’s obvious that the Hefers love running their business and they go out of their way to make sure everyone feels at home. 

This is one of the few areas in the country where you’re allowed to rent tomcars and drive around on your own, and not as part of a guided tour. You’ll be provided a detailed map of the surrounding area that explains exactly how to reach Goren Park, which offers a breathtaking view of Monfort Castle. 

Price: Two-person tomcar NIS 550; Four-person tomcar NIS 750.

Details:  052-583-2632(Photo credit: Meital Sharabi)(Photo credit: Meital Sharabi)

2. FASSUTA

In the Christian village of Fassuta, you will meet blacksmith Walid Houri, who passionately engages visitors as he tells them his fascinating story. In 2006, after working for years in his family’s meat business, Houri decided he was ready for a career change. In the meantime, Houri wanted to carry out a small home-improvement project involving wrought iron, so he began learning more about welding and the art of handcrafted iron. He became so enamored of the craft that in 2008 he opened his own blacksmith business and some of his sculptures have been featured in an exposition in Europe and even won prizes. When you walk through Houri’s gallery, you are offered a glimpse into a world that is quickly disappearing, and visitors can view first-hand how a block of iron is turned into a work of art. After the workshop, guests will be treated to cold and hot drinks, as well as homemade treats, and then take a tour of the village, including of the 120-year-old church. 

Date: Saturday, May 8, noon to 2 p.m.

Price: NIS 60

Details: 072-395-7562(Photo credit: Meital Sharabi)(Photo credit: Meital Sharabi)

3. NOALUSH

On the edge of Kfar Vradim-Tarshiha, you will find Noalush, a French-style bakery run by Moti and Noa. Here you can sit in the café to enjoy a variety of baked goods, or purchase one the freshly-baked loaves of breads they’ve just begun offering. This venue is popular among regulars as well as tourists who are just passing through. It’s also a great place to pop into if you’re looking to gather items for a picture-perfect picnic out in the countryside, including sandwiches made with freshly baked sourdough bread they call Lechem Matanya. During the festival, guests will receive a special cocktail with their orders. 

Location: Main road in Kfar Vradim-Tarshiha 

Date: Thursday, May 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Details:  072-397-1230(Photo credit: Meital Sharabi)(Photo credit: Meital Sharabi)

4. SHEFI’S BEER GARDEN

Israelis’ romance with beer and beef may still be its infancy, but it’s clear that it is already starting to develop into what appears to be a solid, long-term relationship. The amount of alcohol that Israelis drink is well below the average in European countries, and yet in recent years there has been a sharp rise in the number of high-quality boutique breweries here in Israel. One of my favorites is Shefi’s Beer Garden, which serves beer alongside succulent cuts of beef, which is Shefi’s second love after beer. 

Shefi’s brewery and the kosher meat restaurant, which are located in Moshav Manot, are well-known by locals in the Galilee and are slowly becoming popular among visitors coming from outside the region as well. In addition, Shefi recently launched a new line of wine made from grapes grown in his own orchards in the Western Galilee. 

During the Spring Festival, guests will be invited to partake in a Friday celebration at the Beer Garden, where they will enjoy two ¹⁄3-liter glasses of two of Shefi’s boutique beer, a delicious hamburger and French fries. 

Date: Friday, May 7, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Price: NIS 90

Details:  072-395-7540

Translated by Hannah Hochner. 

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