WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church of Wheeling, WV, has canceled its annual Lebanese Festival (Mahrajan) for 2020.
The annual event, which attracted thousands of people over a two-day period, was scheduled for August 8-9 at Oglebay Park.
“It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we find it necessary to cancel our cherished annual festival this year. This decision was made with an abundance of caution and desire to keep our community and parishioners safe during these challenging times,” said Monsignor Bakhos Chidiac, pastor of Our Lady of Lebanon Church.
Over the past 87 years, hundreds of community and church volunteers have welcomed family and friends, who traveled to Wheeling from across the country, to celebrate the Lebanese culture and tradition of faith, family, music and food each August.
The Lebanese Festival (Mahrajan) is the largest fundraiser for the historic church on Eoff Street and commemorates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The festival began in 1933 to rebuild the church after it was destroyed by a fire in December 1932. Since then, monies raised at the annual festival have been used to maintain the historic building and offset costs for special projects and programs.
“We will miss seeing everyone this year but we will look forward to the 2021 Lebanese Festival,” said Chidiac.
Monsignor Bakhos and the festival committee are planning to host a smaller “Mahrajan Food Festival” on October 17-18 to raise funds for the church. This event will be held at the church hall and food will be sold by advanced orders and take-out only. Additional details will be available soon. Menu options will be mailed to patrons and published on www.ololwv.com.
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