EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

August 30, 2013

Get ready for a weekend of festivals in Lawrence

Although many kids have gone back to school, summer partying isn’t quite over as Lawrence will host three Labor Day weekend festivals, celebrating the many cultures that call the city home. From Japanese drummers to Middle Eastern treats, here’s your guide to the festivals in Lawrence this weekend.

Feast of the Three Saints

The largest festival is also the oldest. The 90th annual Feast of the Three Saints, hosted by the St. Alfio Society, will attract over 75,000 visitors to Lawrence over three days.

The festival is a religious and cultural celebration. The three saints — Alfio, Filadelfo and Cirino — were Italian brothers who were martyred in the third century. Since their deaths, many miracles have been attributed to the brothers, and Italians have been celebrating the Saints since the 16th century. The Feast was established in Lawrence in 1921.

The Feast opens Friday night at 6:30 with an opening parade, kicking off a weekend of music, cooking demonstrations, and carnival games. Cardinal Sean O’Malley will lead a Mass on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. in honor of the three saints at Holy Rosary Church on the corner of Essex and Union Streets. At 3 p.m. on Sunday, the statues of the Three Saints will be paraded down common street to close the festival.

Mahrajan

When you’ve had your fill of Italian food, head to St. Antony’s Church (145 Amesbury St.) for the Mahrajan, which means festival in Lebanese. The festival runs Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m., and will feature Middle Eastern food and music, as well as performances of dabka, an Arabic folk dance. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Bread and Roses

The festivities continue Monday with the 29th Annual Bread and Roses festival, taking place on Campagnone Common from noon to 6 p.m. Although it commemorates the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike, the festival has become a celebration of Lawrence’s cultural diversity. There will be a kid’s craft area, story-telling, and plenty of international food and music.

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