Ridgites party at Arab American Bazaar

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Bust a move: Friends and strangers embraced one another with dance.
Henna hands: Henna tattoo artists inked intricate designs onto on fest-goers.
Sending a message: Some attendees, including Samantha Kenny, used the festival to make a political statement.
Day out: Algerian native Fatima Feknous sunk her teeth into a kebob and purchased a pair of Egyptian oils.

Call it a bazaar sight.

Some 3,000 revelers packed into Shore Road Park to enjoy the Arab American Association of New York’s annual bazaar on July 9 with a medley of food, dance, and crafts. It was the Bay Ridge-based association’s 11th-annual party in Shore Road Park that showcases a growing part of Brooklyn’s — and particularly Bay Ridge’s — ethnic mosaic, said one fest-goer.

“I’m happy that they celebrate the Arab and North Africans and give them a chance to show why this culture is great,” said Fatima Feknous, who moved from Algeria to Brooklyn in 1994. “It reminds me of my roots. It allows me to keep connected to my culture — it’s a real expression of joy.”

Vendors included the Fifth Avenue sweets shop Nablus Sweets, stands selling classic New York halal food, and booths hawking jewelry and wares from across the Arab world.

The Freedom Dabke Troupe performed traditional Levantine line dances along with a slew of other dance groups and singers from several Arab cultures. Revelers twirled and danced on the green, sunk their teeth into festive fare such as kebabs and falafels, and inked their hands with intricate Henna tattoos.

But the festivities also had a political tinge this year, with some fest-goers carrying “#NoMuslimB­anEver” signs — taking the opportunity to voice their opposition to President Trump’s order that aims to block citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., which the Supreme Court partially reinstated last month.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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