Camels, kabobs at Mahrajan festival
Mikalah Somers, 3, of Laconia tries to feed hay to Joshua, the dromedary camel, during the Mahrajan Middle Eastern Festival, Saturday afternoon at Our Lady of the Cedars Church in Manchester. (JOSH GIBNEY/UNION LEADER)
MANCHESTER — Elias Brodeur scurried around the outside of an animal pen to gain a better angle to pet Joshua the Camel on Saturday.
“Wow, he's huge,” said the excited 7-year-old from Manchester, who noted the camel's “real smooth neck.”
Joshua the Camel made a return trip to Mahrajan, a Middle Eastern cultural festival outside Our Lady of the Cedars Melkite Catholic Church on Calef Road and Mitchell Street.
“He's got a Facebook fan page and he's got 800 fans,” said Ryan MacKay, owner of MacKay & Friends Petting Zoo in Berlin, Mass.
Camels also could be found on sugar and molasses cookies on sale for $1 each.
Lamb kabobs and falafel, a spiced ground fava bean patty wrap, proved big sellers.
“We try to keep it culturally relevant,” said the Rev. Tom Steinmetz, the church's pastor.
The three-day festival, which draws thousands and offers free admission, wraps up at 5 p.m. today on Mitchell Street.
Donna Penn of Manchester attended the celebration with her mother, Agnes Chevrette, who was married at the church's previous location on South Beech Street in 1957. Both are part Lebanese.
“We still keep traditions,” Penn said. “It's part of mom and me.”
Chelsey Rousseau said several rabbits, kept in a separate pen from the camel, were her festival highlight.
“They're very soft,” she said.
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Mike Cousineau may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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