Accompanied by resounding words from Nasser Beydoun, Chairman of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, the ribbon was cut, opening the 12th Annual Arab International Festival.  The ceremony was accompanied by such dignitaries as County Executive Robert Ficano, Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Judges Halgrin, Elder and Summers, and a number of high profile spokespersons from Michigan’s political and business elite.  Though the words spoken by the group were upbeat and far-reaching in scope and promise, the opening ceremony was not without solemnity.  As pointed out by Nasser Beydoun, this was the first fair that would be celebrated without the participation of the late Mayor Michael A. Guido, and a moment of silence was spent in his memory.

Over the following three days, June 15-17, 2007, more than a half mile of Schaefer Road in Dearborn was transformed into the largest Arab international festival in the nation. The Annual Arab International Festival is a free, family-centered cultural celebration which has come to represent some of the most wonderful cultural contributions that the Arab community has brought to Detroit.  This was seen in the numerous musical acts, both local and international, more than thirty international food booths, henna, arts and crafts, a children's tent, and an artisan tent filled with Arab artwork and merchandise.  In filming the event for ‘Our Arab American Story’, the Visionalist crew was delighted to be treated to an impromptu hookah demonstration and a quick lesson in the marvelous music of the Oud.

Later, the main stage was graced by Lebanese music icons Dominique Hourani, Rabih Al Asmar, and Ayman Zbib who performed along with a vast number of diverse and interesting acts.  Additionally, the main stage saw a fashion show created by local designer, Samaher Mohammad of Zaynini Fashion International. Her fabulous haute couture fashion collection included ten evening garments, four trendy, conservative, Islamic ensembles, and three contemporary traditional thobes.

The festival was a complete success, with over three hundred thousand visitors from all over the world come to celebrate the Arab culture and heritage.


Russell Ebeid

Flavors or the Arab World December 2nd at the Rock Financial Shwplace,
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