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Try the kabobs at the Mahrajan Middle Eastern Festival this weekend. Photo courtesy of Our Lady of the Cedars Church.




 More food festival fun!

Pork Fest & Cookout
Grace Episcopal Church hosts its annual Pork Fest with roast pork cookout, hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw and brownies. Donations will be accepted to support the church’s Take-A-Tote Ministry, which works to provide meals for schoolchildren in Concord. 
When: Sunday, Aug. 17, from noon to 2:30 p.m.
Where: Merrill Park, 30 Eastman St., East Concord
Admission: Free, donations accepted for Take-A-Tote Ministry
 
 
 
Asian Water Festival
The 17th annual Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival celebrates the cultural heritage of the Southeast Asian communities in Lowell, Mass., including Thai, Laotian and Khmer cultures. Traditionally, Southeast Asian communities celebrate water festivals as thanksgiving to the gods of Water and Earth and to Buddha, and to celebrate the rice harvest. Highlights of this year’s festival include a blessing by Buddhist monks, longboat races, musical and dance entertainment, merchandise vendors, plus the Fried Rice Eating Contest. Food vendors include Bubble B TeaHouse, local Thai restaurants, Esan Sausages, and cuisine from Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
When: Sunday, Aug. 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Lowell Heritage State Park, Esplanade & Sampas Pavilion, 500 Pawtucket Blvd., Lowell, Mass.
Admission: Free, but bring cash to purchase food and crafts
 
We Are One Festival
When: Sat., Aug. 16, from 11:45 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Veterans Park, Elm Street, Manchester
Admission: Free, but bring cash to purchase food and crafts
 
 
 
Mahrajan Middle Eastern Festival
When: Friday, Aug. 15, from 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 16, from noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 17, from noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Our Lady of the Cedars Church, 140 Mitchell St., Manchester
Admission: Free, but bring cash to purchase food and crafts

 

 

 

 

 





Flavors from around the world
Manchester festivals highlight global culture

08/14/14



Two long-running festivals in Manchester will give attendees the chance to travel the globe without leaving the Queen City — the Mahrajan Middle Eastern Festival, which runs Friday, Aug. 15, through Sunday, Aug. 17, and the We Are One Festival on Saturday, Aug. 16.
 
Put shawarma, baklawa and tabouleh on your plate
Start out your weekend of global cuisine at Manchester’s Our Lady of the Cedars Church, where the Mahrajan Middle Eastern Festival highlights savory and sweet plates from Lebanon. Much of the menu features the festival’s staples, like stuffed grape leaves, chicken and beef kabobs, baklawa and date fingers.
 
“It’s the same old delicious food,” Rev. Thomas Steinmetz said. “There are certainly people who have come often enough now that they block off the weekend.”
 
Admission is free to the festival, which also features live Arabic music and a DJ, traditional line dancing, hookah rentals and a petting zoo with Josh the Camel.
 
“For people who just want to walk through and enjoy the atmosphere, they can do that, but in particular I would invite people to go to the food booth and sample the food,” Steinmetz said. “Any of the kabobs, the beef, chicken, and lamb, [and] the grape leaves are extremely popular and sell out. The shawarma was very popular last year as well.”
 
The menu includes familiar plates, Steinmetz said, like tabouleh (parsley, cracked wheat and tomato salad with lemon and spices), falafel (spiced ground fava bean patty wrap with tahini sauce, parsley, tomato and pickled turnip) and chicken or lamb shawarma (thinly sliced meat served in a wrap). Other less-known Lebanese dishes include lubyeh (green beans cooked in tomato sauce with spices) and kibbee (baked spiced ground beef mixed with cracked wheat, pine nuts, lamb and onions). The food menu also includes hamburgers, hot dogs and fried dough.
 
Don’t forget to check out the desserts like baklawa (similar to baklava, prepared with ground walnuts, sugar, nutmeg and phyllo dough and drizzled with a light syrup), coosa pita (a rich custard with coosa, a light-skinned summer squash similar to zucchini, layered between sheets of phyllo dough), ghrybe (almond butter cookies) and mamoul (date- or nut-filled pastry with ground blackstone cherry pits).
 
“Although it is predominantly Lebanese, it’s really a Middle Eastern festival,” Steinmetz said. “The festival itself has grown quite a bit from 10 years ago, when it was kind of a small outing on a Sunday afternoon that we did behind the church. Now, it’s grown to something that lasts three days with people not only from all around New England, but also people from outside New England.”
Mahrajan Middle Eastern Festival runs Friday, Aug. 15, through Sunday, Aug. 17, at Our Lady of the Cedars Church, 140 Mitchell St., Manchester.
 
Two festivals become one
This year marks the 15th year Latinos Unidos De New Hampshire has held its Latino Festival, and the 14th year Ujima Collective has held its African-Caribbean Celebration. Both had always been in the month of August and in Veterans Park in Manchester. This year, organizers decided to merge the two long-running festivals into the We Are One Festival, which will be held on Saturday, Aug. 16, from noon to 8 p.m. in Veterans Park.
 
“Really the Latin root comes from the African root, and Caribbean roots as well,” festival organizer Sandra Plummer said. “In order to establish a brotherly or unified concept, we really need to show our roots.”
 
Plummer said the highlights of both festivals will still be there, including all the food vendors, entertainment and arts. There will
be 57 vendors in total, Plummer said.
 
“We share a lot of the food vendors, because there’s so many restaurants now that focus on ethnic foods,” she said. “Much of the performances will be the same as well.”
 
Attendees will be able to enjoy a global feast, with different plates from all over Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. The Southern Sudanese Women of Episcopal Church & Women For Women will prepare traditional dishes from Africa, including samosas, jollof rice from Nigeria and kisamvu cassava leaf from Tanzania. Don Quijote restaurant will serve chicken or “pernil” with rice and gandules from the Dominican Republic, and Honduran food vendor La Catracha will have pupusas from El Salvador.
 
“There will be a lot of different foods for everybody’s taste buds,” Plummer said.
 
Each year, Latinos Unidos De New Hampshire has highlighted a particular country and its culture. This year, both organizations decided to highlight Peru, given its cultural roots in Latin, Caribbean and African heritages. Plummer said that there will be Peruvian performances and food to highlight the country.
 
Toward the end of the festival, the African and Latin performances happening throughout the day will “be put together in a way that the merge of the Latinos and African Caribbeans will be acted out to some degree,” Plummer said. 
 
The festival will also include traditional African crafts for sale, face painting and cultural fashions. 
 
“The Latinos Festival was always exciting for the past 15 years, and the Ujima Festival as well,” Plummer said. “I think it will be double exciting [this year].”





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