Fast, feast, fest: Bay Ridge prepares to party for the end of Ramadan

Fast, feast, fest: Bay Ridge prepares to party for the end of Ramadan
Bazaar show: Eid celebration regulars The Freedom Dabke Troupe — a Palestinian dance group with a number of Brooklyn members — will perform once again at the 10th annual Arab American Bazaar and Eid Celebration.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Celebrate a bazaar decade!

Bay Ridge’s annual Arab American Bazaar and Eid Celebration will return to Shore Road Park for the 10th time this weekend. The family-friendly festival of music, food, and culture on July 10 seeks to celebrate the area’s diverse Arab-American population and the common threads that unite them all, said an organizer.

“This is really an opportunity to celebrate that heritage and it’s an expression of unity as well,” said Kayla Santosuosso, deputy director of the Arab American Association of New York. “Syria has its own politics, Yemen has its own politics, but this is really a time to express unity of the Arab-American community, to celebrate Arab heritage and Americanness — that feeling of both identities is very palpable at the Bazaar.”

That dual identity is embodied by the show’s headliner, Syrian-American hip-hop artist Omar Offendum. Best-known for his politically conscious rapping — a uniquely American art form — Offendum also plans to perform some classic Arabic poetry to appeal to older visitors at the festival. But he hopes that members of all communities will make it to the festival.

“This is an event put on by the Arab American Association, but we’d love for non-Arabs to come out, especially now more than ever to show solidarity between communities and have fun, is what its all about — it’s about having fun,” he said.

Eid celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during daylight, and Offendum plans to chow down on food at the festival.

“I almost feel guilty eating in the daylight the first day, but I’m definitely looking forward to it, and there will be no shortage of delicious food,” he said. “I just need to make sure I don’t pig out so much that I can’t perform.”

More than a dozen vendors will offer a mix of traditional Middle Eastern dishes, including classic New York halal food and the Levantine flatbread treat manakish, Santosuosso said. Other vendors will sell goods from the Arab world, including traditional Islamic clothing and jewelry. Bay Ridge’s Urban Modesty will sell its chic-yet-demure women’s clothing for the first time at the festival, said its owners.

The festival, which is expected to draw about 4,000 people, will also offer activities for kids, including face-painting, balloon animals, and arts and crafts.

“The 10th Annual Bay Ridge Arab American Bazaar and Eid Celebration,” at Shore Road Park [entrance at 79th Street and Shore Road in Bay Ridge, (718) 745–3523, www.arabamericanny.org]. July 10. Noon–7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.
Mass appeal: Popular Syrian-American hip-hop artist Omar Offendum headlines the Arab American Association of New York’s festival in Bay Ridge on July 10.
Ridwan Adhami

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