Arabesque fest showcases diverse Arab culture

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">The third annual Chicago Arabesque festival featured cuisine, art and culture of the Arabic nations at Daley Plaza on June 24, 2009. All photos by Heidi M. Stallings.</span></div>
June 24, 2009 3:53:28 PM PDT
Chicagoans had a chance to explore the cuisine, art and culture of the Arabic nations at Daley Plaza on Wednesday. The third annual Chicago Arabesque Festival is a non-religious, non-political festival designated to promote public awareness of the cultural heritage of the Arab world and showcase its diversity.

"It's a very rich culture people need to hear about," said George Alcheikh, who was hosting a Syrian educational booth. "We participate because we want the American public to be aware of Syria and to show that we are part of the Chicago culture."

The festival features calligraphy, custom jewelry, hand crafted home décor items, skin products and Middle Eastern Cuisine.

"I love tabouleh," said Reem Jaghlit. "It's a kind of salad made of parsley, tomato, olive oil, cracked wheat and lemon juice."

The commercial booths have books, embroidered products, gift items and clothing for sale.

"The clothes are part of the culture," said Nicole DiCocco, assistant to the Ambassador of Libya and host of the Libya educational booth. "There are so many countries that make up the Arabic culture."

The four-day festival will feature 12 of the 22 Arabic nations.

Story telling, magicians, face-painting and games will be offered for children, as well as activity booths for both children and adults. Each day at noon a different performance of Arab dance and music will take place.

Also, a screening of the film "American East" will be shown each day at Arabesque. "American East" is a social commentary feature film about an Arab-Muslim restaurateur that tries to establish a life post-9/11 in the United States. The film will show at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thursday, 12:05 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The third annual Chicago Arabesque Festival runs until Saturday, June 27. The festival hours are: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free.

For more information about the third annual Chicago Arabesque Festival, please visit www.chicagoarabesque.com.

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