Two Manchester celebrations of cultural diversity top our list of fairs and festivals coming to the Granite State this weekend:
Mahrajan Middle Eastern Festival
The Mahrajan Middle Eastern Festival is set for 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at Our Lady of the Cedars Church, 140 Mitchell St.
The food tent will serve up Middle Eastern fare including lamb, beef and chicken kabobs, falafel (spiced ground fava bean patty wraps); stuffed grape leaves, lubyeh (green beans in tomato sauce served over rice and bread) and spinach pie.
Listen to music by Mitchell Kaltsunas on Friday night and George Maalouf’s band on Sunday afternoon. DJ Kibar Moussoba will emcee the weekend festival and man the turntable, spinning Arabic and popular American favorites.
For the kids, there will be carnival games and face painting. For the adults, there will be a gift bazaar and backgammon, plus rentals of hookahs, Middle Eastern smoking devices, for $10 per tobacco fill, according to mahrajan-nh.com.
The festive event returns to Veterans Memorial Park on Elm Street from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. In addition to soul food and fare representing the Dominican Republic and Congo, there will be a children’s corner with games and face painting and music by Son Berica from Puerto Rico and Rumbafria from Congo.
The festival has its roots in the 2003 fusing of two events — the Latino Festival and the African-Caribbean Celebration.
“Both communities faced social isolation because of their small total number and lack of variety of national, ethnic and cultural safe spaces within both the Spanish speaking and communities of African descent,” according to event organizers Sudi Lett and Shaunte Whitted.
“The event provides access to familiar food and music in a family-friendly environment and fun for all ages. It is also one of the largest gatherings of multicultural individuals that occurs in Manchester each year.”
And elsewhere around the state:
This traditional country fair with 4-H exhibits, a woodsmen’s contest, horse shows, music, food and arts and crafts, takes place Friday through Sunday.
Gates will open at 7 a.m. each day and close at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission is $12 for ages 13 and older and $3 for ages 6 to 12. Three-day fair passes are $30. Tickets for the midway, which opens at 10 a.m. each day, are $25 per four-hour session. Parking is free.
Use the GPS address for 294 Town House Road in Cornish to find the fairgrounds. Info: cornishfair.org.
Gate City Brewfest and Wing Competition
The seventh annual festival runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, rain or shine, at Holman Stadium in Nashua.
There will be handcrafted beer from local and regional breweries, plus a chicken wing competition between local restaurants (Bertucci’s, Burton’s, Margaritas Nashua, Not Your Average Joe’s, Prime Butcher of Hampstead, The Flight Center, Thirsty Moose Merrimack and Wing It On.)
The music lineup will include sets by David Corson, Visiting Wine and Still on the Vine.
There also will be a home-run derby, face painting, a kids zone, games and bounce houses.
Plus, visitors can check out the finals of a summer corn hole tournament. More than 30 qualifying events took place in June and July.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 on the day of the event. Admission for designated drivers is $10. It’s free for ages 12 and younger. Info: gatecitybrewfestnh.com.
NH Food Truck Fest at Cisco Brewers
Food Truck Festivals of America’s sixth annual Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival returns to Cisco Brewers, 35 Corporate Drive, Portsmouth, from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Expect tasty fare from food trucks with names like Trolley Dogs, Shiskaberrys, The Whoo(pie) Wagon, The Bacon Truck, Macarollin and Cheese Louise.
They’ll be complemented by brews including Grey Lady Ale, Gripah Grapefruit IPA and Shark Tracker Light Lager.
General admission is $5 in advance or $10 on the day of the event. There is no fee for children 12 and younger, or for first responders and members of the military. Advance-only ticket sales include a $25 VIP option and a $40 VIB Package. For more information, visit foodtruckfestivalsofamerica.
Railway to the Moon Steampunk Festival
The Mount Washington Cog Railway, the first mountain–climbing cog railway in the world, is celebrating 150 years of operation this year in the White Mountains.
On Saturday and Sunday, The Cog will host its annual Steampunk Festival, a celebration of the inventiveness of Cog entrepreneur Sylvester March and his undaunted mission to build a “railway to the moon.” Festival organizers describe the event as “a combination of the wild west meets Jules Verne meets the Victorian Era with a circus-like atmosphere.”
The Cog, once hailed as the “second greatest show on Earth” by circus pioneer P. T. Barnum, has maintained its historic roots by offering three-hour guided round-trip in a historically inspired coach powered by 1908 and 1875 vintage coal-fired steam locomotives or one of the modern biodiesel engines, all built on the site.
In its fourth year, the Steampunk Festival will feature steampunk fashion, live music by the King’s Busketeers and Victorian lawn games hosted by Jewelry CitySteampunk of Attleboro, Mass.
Steampunk Guru Bruce Rosenbaum, featured on Netflix’s “Amazing Interiors” for his gothic church restored in Steampunk style, will be presenting as well as artist Todd Cahill, with his inventive and lively steam machine art.
There will be kid-friendly activities such as Tinker-Bots, giant bubbles and magic shows happening throughout the day at the base, as well as the headliner, a steam train experience in which participants will enter a whimsical steampunk world on the train ride up to the summit.
A vendor tent will offer Steampunk baubles and gadgets, accessories and art. Ages 21 and older can visit the Brewers’ Corner on the deck.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway is located at 3168 Base Road, Bretton Woods. There is no admission fee to the festival, which will take place rain or shine at the Cog’s Marshfield Base Station.
For more information, go to thecog.com or call 800-922-8825.
In association with the festival, Cog Railway lodging partner Adventure Suites will be hosting a Steampunk After Party in their newly built saloon at 3440 White Mountain Highway, North Conway.
Party-goers can enjoy appetizers, mini-massages, an outdoor fire pit, music and a cash bar. Wear your Steampunk best for a chance to win prizes. There is a $10 cover charge.
Hampton Beach Children’s Festival
Since this past Monday, it’s all been building to this summer tradition, a giant costume parade along the beach at 11 a.m. Friday.
The colorful marchers will assemble at the Hampton Beach State Park and proceed down Ocean Boulevard to the Sea Shell Stage.
Also this weekend, sand soccer tournaments will take place on the beach across from the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom. Youth ages 12 to 17 will compete Saturday and a co-ed round robin will take place Sunday. Rules call for players to be barefoot or in socks. For more information, visit hamptonbeach.org.