The San Francisco Bay Area is well known for its ethnic food festivals. You can literally hit a Greek Festival, an Armenian Festival, and an Italian festival all in one weekend in different areas if you wanted to! One festival that has been close to my heart since I was a child was Palestine Cultural Day. Back in the day this festival celebrating Palestinian food, music, dancing, and art was held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. On any given year at least 5000 people of all backgrounds would come celebrate with us. Whether biting into a crunchy falafel wrap dribbling with tahini, perusing the embroidered scarves and Palestinian olive oil, or attempting to dance debke to the percussion beats of a live band-it was always a day full of positive vibes.
This time, things were really different. A record breaking 22.000 people showed up to this year’s festival, which took place by the serene lagoon in Foster City. Over 50 food vendors quietly prepared all morning long, but little did they know the lines would be relentless! Some of the delicacies included mansaf, mana’eesh, sfeehas, or fresh meat pies, shawarmas, kebabs, hummus, falafel, and the renowned Palestinian kunafa dessert made fresh to order.
I personally want to thank the many of you that showed up at our cookbook signing booth, we loved seeing you and connecting with you one on one! As a matter of fact, our booth was so busy it was hard to cover all of the amazing happenings at this festival! If you couldn’t come but would still like a cookbook, just click on the cookbook tab on your left.
I was still determined to gather some of my favorite highlights with the time that I had in a new YouTube video drop, which you can check out by clicking on the video below. The 2 main Palestinian musicians that performed at this event are quickly becoming iconic fixtures in Arab pop culture, from talented singer Elyanna, to 14 year old hard hitting rapper MC Abdul. MC Abdul’s presence was especially poignant, as this is the first time in his life he was allowed to leave Gaza. Even in past music video collaborations, he had to do them virtually because he was not allowed to leave.
In the end, I hope this video makes you feel like you have been to this record breaking event–thanks to all of you that showed up to make this festival an extraordinary success!