On Sunday, August 3, the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) hosted its eigth Annual Arab American Bazaar at Shore Road Park. The event took place from 1 to 7 p.m. and included a variety of musical performances, food, shopping and display of Arab pride.It was a great turnout. I think it was a much needed event in the community, said Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of AAANY. The bazaar is about the Arab community, which is large and significant in this area. Its to celebrate the culture as well as invite others to come and celebrate it.Due to recent events in Gaza, the tone of this years bazaar was different from past ones. This year, the musical performances were more somber out of respect to the loved ones lose in Middle East, she said. We made sure the performances were strictly about Arab pride as well as dignity and freedom out of respect whats happening.Previous years included different performances, such as dance numbers. We wanted to give the community a chance to celebrate heritage, Sarsour said, but we didnt want to forget about people on the other side of world having hard times.While there may have been heavy hearts, those that did attend the bazaar enjoyed the performances and vendors, which included Middle Eastern food and shopping, including a popular t-shirt vendor.We had a custom made t-shirt designer on hand. People were able to pick whatever they wanted on a shirt, Sarsour said. The shirts included phrases that represented pride of the culture, such as I love Egypt and Free Palestine.According to Sarsour, a diverse crowd attended this year. In addition to Bay Ridgeties, residents from Queens and the Upper West Side of Manhattan were also on hand.The décor displayed throughout the bizarre showed of Arab-American pride, said Sarsour.The stage included flags from 23 Arab countries. We also had an American flag up to show that while we are proud to be Arab, we are proud to be Americans as well, she said.One of the more popular attractions enjoyed by attendees were the hip hop performances. This year, we added something different to cater to the young Arab American crowd. We had hip hop performances that were more politically conscious. The young Brooklyn kids especially enjoyed that.Sarsour has also been grateful to the NYPD throughout the years. The 68th Precinct has been with us from the beginning of the event and has been extremely supportive and helpful, she said.
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