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8th annual Lakewood Meltdown; Lebanese Food & Music Festival

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On Saturday, July 8th, we tabled on behalf of "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" at the 8th annual "Lakewood Meltdown" which is a street festival that takes place on Detroit Avenue between Marlowe and Elmwood.

All told, there were 76 vendors and we were fortunate to have been assigned a spot just in front of "First Federal Lakewood" near the corner of Detroit Avenue and Cook because this placed us almost in the center of the vendor section so we could keep our booth in eye distance if we wanted to run elsewhere to obtain some lemonade or a snow cone. It was also good that we were located next to "State Farm" because its coordinator was Mr. Phillip Vasquez who generously let us borrow some weights when the wind (which was unusually strong) threatened to blow over our canopy.

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Most of the time we stood right beside our booth and greeted people who stopped by. Among these was a young person named Emily who was wearing a "Mission Possible" t-shirt. We told Emily that we had heard Father Bob Stec talk about "Mission Possible" at the First Friday Club earlier in the week and Emily replied that she had recently returned from the Dominican Republic where she spent time volunteering at "Mission Possible" and it was an eye-opening experience.

Other people who we talked to included Veronica, a registered voter and proud of it, who told us that she has contacted the offices of our U.S. Senators and urged them to oppose the immigration policies of the Trump administration. We also connected with a man who was wearing "Puerto Varas" cap so we thought he might be from Latin America. As it turned out though, his name was Vijay and he had immigrated to the United States from India about 30 years ago; he then grinned and told us that he was wearing the "Puerto Varas" cap because it was so comfortable.

 

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Each year the "Lakewood Meltdown" is organized by "LakewoodAlive" which "is a community-centered nonprofit that fosters and sustain vibrant neighborhoods." Its vision is "a welcoming community that thrives on engaged residents, desirable housing and an entrepreneurial spirit that connect in strong diverse neighborhoods to maximize the quality of life."

 

Along these lines, several people from Lakewood told us that they were glad that there was such a firm as "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" and that we were participating in the festival. One woman who talked to us said that she and her friends who live here put signs upon their lawns that demonstrate how welcoming Lakewood is towards those who immigrate from other lands.

On our way back to our car, we passed two houses (right next door to each other) that had these signs on proud display on their lawns. One sign read "No matter where you are from, we're glad you're our neighbor." in three languages and the other consisted of a picture of the U.S. flag in the shape of a heart and contained the words, "Hate Has No Home Here" in six languages.

 

On Sunday, July 9th, there wasn't too much going on so we decided to hang out at the "Lebanese Food & Music Festival" at the St. Sava Picnic Grove on West Ridgewood Drive in Parma. This annual event is organized by the "Northern Ohio Lebanese American Association" which "is dedicated to preserving, enriching, and promoting our Lebanese heritage and traditions through cultural, educational, humanitarian, and social activities."

Accordingly, we got to talk to our friends Mr. Rick Ganim, Mr. John Harb, and Mr. Joe Asmar who told us that this festival has been taking place for five years now and the attendance grows greater each year. To be sure there was a lot of great Middle Eastern food for consumption such as musakaha (eggplant, garlic, chick peas and seasonings), sambousek (ground beef, onions, lemon, and seasonings) and tabouli (parsley, cracked wheat, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, and lemon juice). On the agenda for later in the day were musical performances and dances. There were also materials there promoting those of Lebanese descent to explore becoming a U.S./Lebanon dual citizenship.

Not everyone there though was of Lebanese heritage; we visited for a while with Mr. Paul Brunovsky who immigrated to the U.S. from Slovakia many years ago and for many years coordinated the annual local Slovakian festival.

After an hour or so we said good-bye and promised to stay in touch with Mr. Harb regarding the Lebanese Ball which takes place every November and is always attended by us.

 

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC