Walk like an Egyptian: the Arab American Festival

By, Rick Beitman

Courtesy: Rick Beitman
Courtesy: Rick Beitman

You might walk like an Egyptian, sing like an Iraqi, dance like the Lebanese, eat like a Jordanian, smoke like a Qatari, or enjoy all things Middle Eastern at the Arab American Festival. – The local event took place in Uptown Phoenix at Steele Indian School Park October 18-19 from 4:00 PM until 9:00 PM.

 

Courtesy: Rick Beitman
Courtesy: Rick Beitman

The Arab American Festival is very much a cultural experience. Put on annually by a nonprofit organization of the same name, the festival showcases Arab culture. – Offerings included traditional, Middle Eastern cuisine such as chicken shawarma at the food court. The bazaar included booths of vendors selling trinkets, local businesses, and other activities.

 

Courtesy: Rick Beitman
Courtesy: Rick Beitman

The hookah lounge was the spot where guests could enjoy smoking sheesha, Middle Eastern, flavored tobacco. Perhaps a little too popular, the hookah had run out by the time a group of T-Birds arrived at the lounge around 8:30 PM on Saturday. – On stage there were performers belly dancing and music playing from across the region ranging from Iraqi beats to Egyptian melodies.

 

Among the T-Birds present at the venue, Muhammad Mustafa, MBA student from Amman, Jordan, stated:

 

“As an Arab, I would say that the overall environment, food and music reminded me of the Middle East. I was happy to see people talking in Arabic around me. Also, It was very nice to see how the Arab community represents Arabic culture abroad.”

 

Courtesy: Rick Beitman
Courtesy: Rick Beitman

While celebrated only once a year, the Arab American Festival is not the only game in town. – Although not as large scale, the Lebanese Cultural Festival is coming up November 7-9 at St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church, 5406 East Virginia Avenue. – Phoenicians need not wait until next year to get another taste of Middle Eastern culture.

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