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Egyptian Festival in Richmond exceeds expectations

RICHMOND, Va. -- St. Mary and St. Mercurius Coptic Orthodox Church in Henrico held its first ever Egyptian Festival on Saturday. Church members invited the community to enjoy traditional music, dance, and authentic Egyptian food.

"The church and members welcome all communities to share our food, tradition and culture,” organizers of the event wrote.

The Coptic Church has its roots in the historic city of Alexandria, Egypt and church members were excited to share their culture with others.

The Henrico branch of the church has only been open for a short time and was an extension of a church that has been in Richmond since the 1980s.

Organizers were excited for the event to raise awareness about the church within the local area and all of the proceeds go back to the church.

Other family-friendly activities offered included taking photos with pharaohs, face painting, and henna tattoos to engage people of all ages with Egyptian culture.

“We’re trying to mix fun stuff with the church as well,” Romany Faheem, an organizer for the event, said.

According to Faheem, the community worked for weeks to organize the festival.

Maged Abiskhiroon, another organizer, estimated turnout was in the thousands.

“We never expected that many people would come,” said Faheem. “It’s beyond our expectations.”

Next year the church planned to expand the event to accommodate for the large turnout.