September 05. 2018 11:34PM

Egyptian food festival this weekend

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent


NASHUA — Hundreds of people are expected to attend a three-day Egyptian food festival this weekend in Nashua, an event designed to celebrate the city’s myriad cultures and faiths.

“This is the second annual festival,” said Father Kyrillos Gobran of the St. Mary and Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church. “The idea behind it is to reach out to the community and let them know that our doors are always open to anyone and everyone.”

The church, located at 39 Chandler St., is a landmark building that was constructed in 1895 and formerly housed St. Francis Xavier Church.

An estimated $5 million restoration project is currently underway at one of the city’s oldest churches, and festival-goers will have the opportunity to tour the large marble building.

“It is an old church that needs a lot of restoration,” Gobran said.

The renovations are taking place as part of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s 2016 Seven to Save projects.

Gobran said there are many local residents who care deeply about the church and are eager to see the progress being made.

“This is an opportunity for them to see what we are all about and where we are going,” he said.

The roof of the building is currently being renovated, and the stained glass at the rear of the church is being restored. Cracked marble on the exterior of the building has also been repaired.

The Egyptian Food Festival provides families with a chance to see the progress while enjoying authentic Egyptian cuisine, Coptic music and children’s activities such as face-painting and bounce houses.

The family event will take place this weekend, with festivities from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The church’s historic building was listed on the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places last summer. In 2016, it was selected as part of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s Seven to Save, a program designed to save threatened landmarks and buildings.

“Lots of people who are Nashua residents have been in the church when it was previously St. Francis Xavier, or were even married here. They are so happy when they learn that it is still here, the pews are the same and the architecture is the same,” Gobran said.

nashuanews@unionleader.com