Arab International Festival on tap Friday through Father’s Day

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The 17th annual Arab International Festival is expected to have its usual family-oriented fun and cultural enrichment, and Fay Beydoun, American Arab Chamber of Commerce executive director, wants community members to celebrate in the same way.

“A lot of people come because of Father’s Day weekend,” Beydoun said. “They plan their vacation around the festival. (The) family aspect is very important because Middle Eastern cultures, like many others, are very family oriented.”

The festival, described as a cultural celebration, will be held Friday through Sunday on 14 blocks of Warren Avenue between Schaefer and Wyoming.

Beydoun said that the festival was created as a way to support Warren Avenue’s business district, giving the businesses an opportunity to advertise their wares to first-time customers who always find their way back.

“It is important to have the festival on Warren,” Beydoun said. “It is the most thriving business district located in Dearborn.”

Some festival attractions include international entertainment, with several from Tunisia, Iraq and Yemen, Beydoun said.

“We are trying to get a variety of different Middle Eastern countries,” Beydoun said. She added that because Dearborn has undergone a cultural shift, she hopes to keep up with the change by showcasing artists that represent different cultural groups while bringing in other local artists.

In years past the festival drew more than 300,000 people from areas including Canada and the Middle East.

Other festival highlights include 30 inernational food booths, a carnival, interactive children’s tent, Middle Eastern merchandise and calligraphy.

Free parking is available. Fore more information about the festival contact Sandy Wilton at 313-945-1700.

Festival gates will open at 4 p.m. Friday.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)

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