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Another Busy Weekend In The ‘Noke

The annual Lebanese Festival was a tempting taste treat for thousands.

by Gene Marrano

The fifth annual “Woofstock” Dog Festival at Elmwood Park last Saturday gave pet parents a chance to bring their pooches downtown, in a fundraising event that supported local rescue shelters for dogs (Angels of Assisi, Roanoke Valley SPCA, Star City Greyhound Rescue, League for Animal Protection.)  There were also information booths and vendors concerning all things canine, Frisbee-catching exhibitions by the Mad Dogs and music.

Sponsor Hounds put on Woofstock; vice president Elliott Broyles expected at least several thousand people to attend the event. “There’s a lot of dog lovers in the area,” said Broyles, formerly a radio morning show personality. There were also new vendors and the latest products for dogs. “People are loving it,” added Broyles. A silent auction also helped raise money.

“There’s a lot of dog festivals around but nothing where you can take your dog and go hear music [as well],” said Broyles, “and there’s a lot of festivals where you can’t bring your dog. This is the alternative.”

A few blocks away the 53rd annual Sidewalk Art Show wrapped around the Taubman Museum of Art building, providing a dramatic backdrop for those that strolled through. For many it was one of the few chances they have all year to talk to artists, or look for that perfect piece that might look good in their living room.  A fundraiser for the Taubman, the annual show is also juried. Winners included: Best in Show – Jimmy Houston; second prize – Nancy Stark; third prize – Chris Bruno; Excellence in Design – Brett LaGue for “Sunbird.”

Stark also won the Blair Wiley Fishwick Memorial Award for her overall body of work. Linda Gourley took home the drawing/original printmaking award; Elizabeth Perkins – photography; Sculpture – David Wertz; Painting – Kenneth Stockton; Mixed Media – Natasha Caine; Watercolor – Susan Stuller; Fine Craft – Brian Rayner.

A few miles away from downtown those looking for something a bit exotic could check out the 11th annual Lebanese Festival at St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church on Cove Road. There was Lebanese music, dancers, and, of course, the food – stuffed grape leaves (warak inab), meat pies (fatayer), salad (tabouleh), hummus, falafel and assorted Lebanese deserts, among other dishes offered.

Among those taking their turn in the kitchen or on the serving line during the three-day feast (a fundraiser for the church, which has its roots in Lebanon) was Ray Ferris, an attorney and member of Roanoke City Council. Ferris also has Lebanese roots – but you didn’t have to share that line of ethnicity in order to enjoy the tasty treats that were offered at St. Elias, on what was yet another busy Spring weekend in Roanoke.


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