Arab Cultural Festival

[Sorry this is sloppily written. I'm behind schedule.]

On Sunday, August 26, 2007, I drove to an edge of Golden Gate Park for the Arab Cultural Festival. With one food booth, one dessert booth, one stage, and a kids' zone, it was a cozy festival in a small community center. Perhaps its most interesting aspect was the contents of the various tables.

Organizations represented:

  • the Egyptian consulate
  • the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • community groups:
    • a social group
    • a group for legal help
    • a group that organizes a film festival
    • an association of technical professionals
Some groups tried educate the public:
  • learn Arabic
  • learn about Islam and Muslims
  • fight Islamophobia
People also sold items, all appropriately themed:
  • photos
  • shawls and pillows
  • Arabic books
  • candles with farsi on them
  • jewelry
  • tiny magnificent metal models of mosques
  • shoes
  • music
  • shirts: "Got rights?" (in similar font to the "Got milk?" shirts)
  • another shirt and bumper sticker booth. Some of the messages seemed okay to me; others seemed crassly undiplomatic. You be the judge.
    • U.S. out of Iraq
    • Stop Israel's War Crimes
    • Stop U.S. Aid To Israel
    • Hezbollah 2, Israel 0
    • Free Palestine
    • Buck Fush
    • I am democratic. I voted for Hamas.
Other commercial interests were represented:
  • satellite Arabic television stations
  • Qatar airlines
Most of the Arabs at the festival were light-skinned. I'm not sure if I find this surprising.

While at the festival, I took a few photos of the hall and the food and a few movies of performances. The performances were good. I'm sad I missed the comedian. (Because I was eating, I only caught the very end of his act.) The performance hall was nicely decorated with flags of many Arabic nations hanging on the wall. I recognized very few of them.

As for lunch, the hummus was terrific. I can't imagine more perfect hummus (that is, once I pushed aside the oil drizzled on top of it). My chicken skewer ("tauouk") was decently grilled, though it could've done with a squeeze of lemon. The accompanying rice was moist and slightly creamy. The tabbouleh was fine: mostly parsley. The lavash was generally reasonable. I made sandwiches with the lavash; these were no more than the sum of whatever ingredients I decided to include.

Unusual for a festival, there was a coffee stand with an extensive menu. Too bad I don't drink coffee.

The dessert stand had some items I'd never heard of (kinafeh with cheese, hareeseh, halkoom), but, due to prior plans for the late afternoon, I decided not to partake.

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