FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — It’s a festival unlike any Fort Wayne has experienced. The first ever Arab Fest kicks off Saturday, hoping to create a more positive tone around the term “Arab.”
Volunteers prepped for the new festival Friday afternoon downtown, setting up tents and hanging flags of Arab nations at the Rothschild Pavilion across from Headwaters Park.
The festival is put on by the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace. Organizers said it will be a family-friendly event that will feature authentic Arabic food. Vendors will sell baklava, baba ganoush, tabouli, and humus.
There will be camel rides on Sunday and a traditional Middle Eastern dance troop from Dearborn, Michigan. After sunset Saturday, organizers will show the film “Axis of Evil Comedy Tour” which is more for the adults.
They hope the event will highlight the good qualities of the Arab community.
“We thought it was appropriate to do Arab Fest because, lets face it, there’s a lot of negative associated with the word ‘Arab,'” said Sam Jarjour, committee member. “Fort Wayne, little known to a lot of local people, has a rich history of Arab immigration starting in the late 1800’s. We wanted to showcase that.”
Arab Fest runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday evening and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is free.