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Cultural festival celebrates Lebanese heritage in Scranton

The corner of Price Street and North Sumner Avenue was packed with festival goers on Sunday afternoon.

For a few decades, the Lebanese Heritage Festival has brought food and community together in West Scranton in a celebration of culture at St. Ann Maronite Catholic Church.

According to the church’s website, Scranton is home to one of earliest communities from Lebanon in the U.S.

Event organizers said that the northeast Pennsylvania Lebanese community originated more than 100 years ago when families settled in the area in 1903.

Dozens of tables welcomed community members in a dining area under a huge white tent.

A DJ played music and a handful of grills stood in rows on Price Street.

Volunteers sold dishes like stuffed grape leaves, kafta, hummus and freshly made za’atar bread, while others restocked pans from inside the church, where much of the food was being prepared.

Some items including the falafel and chicken skewers sold out within the first few hours.

Money raised during the event benefits St. Ann Maronite Catholic Church.

Tom Riese is a multimedia reporter and the local host for NPR's Morning Edition. He comes to NEPA by way of Philadelphia. He is a York County native who studied journalism at Temple University.