EASTON, Pa. — Everyone is on deck at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Easton as volunteers prepare for the Lebanese Heritage Days festival. More than 10,000 people are expected at the event this weekend.
It takes over 100 volunteers to organize this massive event.
“They’ve been preparing for this for months,” said Father Youssef Keikati, pastor of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church.
Now the volunteers are in the final stages until show time. Church members began pitching tents on Wednesday.
The cabbage is boiled and the freezers are packed. A group prepares thousands of pounds of food and pastries.
“A lot of manual labor,” said Steve Koorie, president of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church. “A lot of time and love goes into this food preparation.”
This weekend is the 46th annual festival.
“The first was a very humble beginning,” said Deacon Anthony Koury of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church. “A few charcoal barbecues, a few tents.”
Deacon Koury and his wife participated in the 46 festivals.
“She did her thing and I did mine and we work together for the church,” Koury said.
The money raised goes to the church.
Your favorites are their favorites.
“Shish kebab, chicken wrap, Kafta, which is a Lebanese burger,” Koury said of some of the offerings. “We have a pastry tent. We have a souvenir tent, games for children.”
A highlight is the troupes of local performers aged two to twenty who perform the traditional dances of the community.
“Our custom is to shower them with money, and all the money raised goes to the church, and if you haven’t seen it, it’s a sight to behold,” Koorie said.
Another sight to behold is the care taken in organizing an event like this for decades.
“It’s something that identifies us and it’s an extension of our roots from Lebanon so far,” Koury said.
“It’s a good time for our community to come together,” Fr. Keikati said.
“They will feel the energy of a family reunion, where everyone knows everyone, not just the Lebanese,” Koorie said.
The party at the church takes place from 5 p.m. to midnight on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
The dance troupes perform at 7 p.m. each evening.