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Arab Fest returns to Fort Wayne with camel rides and more

May 23rd, 2016

News Coverage:

May 22, 2016

Arab Fest returns to Fort Wayne with camel rides and more

Rod King | The News-Sentinel

Arab Fest is back after a very successful premier a year ago. The free, family-friendly event, which is sponsored by the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace, is scheduled for June 4 and 5 in Headwaters Park West.

Camels from Nature’s Creek Zoo in Temperance, Mich., will again be on hand for rides around the park Saturday only. The festival committee is promising more music, entertainment and shopping this year.

A large tent will be erected to house a traditional souq (market). Amid the hustle and bustle of the market, festival visitors will find henna artists creating intricate hand paintings. They’ll also have an opportunity to watch Arabic script writers put their name along with a special saying or phrase of their choice on parchment. A portrait display of prominent Arab Americans in business, education, entertainment and sports will be on display. Handicrafts, carvings, soaps, spices and olive oil can be purchased in the souq.

On the entertainment stage in the pavilion will be national Palestinian recording artist, Ronnie Malley performing on a guitar-like instrument called an oud. Regionally known debkah dance group from Chicago, Firkat al-Watan, will perform traditional Arab dances to traditional Arab music. Arab spoken-word artists Muhammad Sankari and Jennie Wehbeh from the Arab American Action Network in Chicago will demonstrate and perform to hip-hop spoken-word poetry and tell folk tales.

Harmony Gardens of Detroit is bringing more and different Arab foods including roasted chicken shawarma, kafta kabobs, falafel (vegetarian sandwich), hummus, baba qhanoush (eggplant dip), rice and salads. Tasty baklava from Masri Sweets in Dearborn, Mich., will be available, as well.

Gates to the festival will open Saturday at noon and close at 10 p.m. The gates will reopen Sunday at noon and close at 7 p.m.

For additional information check out the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace web site at and on their Facebook page.