Aah so where do we begin? Some of you might ask why big boss Zayed himself isn’t writing this blogpost. Apparently, the general consensus is that I was the one who was the least busy on the day and appeared to be in the best position to gauge how the event was panning out. Although there was definitely an element of truth to that, in my defence the gladiator pit didn’t supervise itself. And it’s a tough job keeping everyone safe (I also wore the hat of Health and Safety officer). Alrighty, here we go.
We couldn’t have picked a better day to host the event as there was not a cloud in sight. Considering how much rain on surrounding days was forecasted, It appeared as if the event was endorsed by the Almighty.
As I roamed the event (pretending to be busy and always “looking for someone” just in case anyone asked me to do anything), it was so heartwarming to see the joy on the children’s faces as they leaped about in the bouncy castle. But that wasn’t the only inflatable on site. The New Zealand Fire Service had this inflatable structure which proved to be a fire evacuation challenge for the little ones which I thought was so cool! Not to mention their two exciting presentations (there was heaps of fire)! Also, can’t forget the presence of NZ Police who happily let the children (and adults lol) pose inside the police car with their gears on.
Those photos are sure to generate a great number of likes on Facebook! There was also the gladiator pit where there was absolutely no shortage of kids (and adults haha) wanting to settle old disputes. A couple of kids cried on my watch but that wasn’t my fault (please believe me). I almost forgot to mention Shad the Clown who kindly went one hour overtime painting all those beautiful kiddy faces. Needless to say the kids were truly in their element at the festival.
But the kids weren’t the only ones who appeared to be fizzing at the event. Even for the adults, there was never a dull moment. There was a constant stream of outstanding stage performances to keep everyone entertained. Nasheeds, dances, educational talks, martial arts performances; you name it, it was all there. The re-enactment of Hajj and Islamic songs performed by the young’uns was especially cute. And for those of you that wanted a wee break from the performances, I saw a bunch of you all wander upstairs to get your Henna game on or to get your name written in some mind-blowing Arabic calligraphy. When I moseyed over to the Cultural Crossroads area (an incredible amount of time was spent setting this up), all I saw was people lazing around drinking exotic teas and eating baklava. Every now and then, some of you would get up to appreciate all the terrific Islamic Art on display. It’s creepy but…this is exactly how we had imagined it.
A big shout-out to all the 30+ stall owners who made the Bazaar the success that it was. Reminded me of the marketplace in Aladdin! Soooo many different things to eat, drink (AJ’s Famous punch at the cafeteria was to die for) and buy! Overwhelmingly positive reviews regarding the quality and affordability of food and merchandise keep on coming through to us. So a big thank you to all of you!
As per usual, the DeenQuest was a hit! We had Muslim and non-Muslim teams alike and it was great to see the non-Muslim teams hold their own, as the Muslim teams had a clear advantage with some of the Islamic knowledge-based tasks. Nevertheless, the competition was fierce and there were no clear winners until right at the end. So congratulations are in order to the winners as they now have a food hamper and not to mention bragging rights.
A big big big big thank you to everyone who made the whole event the success that it was. It was bigger and better than we could have possibly imagined. The sponsors, stall owners, volunteers, performers and speakers all deserve a massive round of applause for all their hard work.
But the reality is that you can start planning the event months in advance, hire out the venue, suss out all the activities and set up a bunch of stalls, but it all doesn’t come to anything unless we have the participation, support and encouragement from the community who turned up in the masses. There are not enough words to express our gratitude to you all. A thank you will have to do for now.
But we’re not finished yet. There is life after the Canterbury Eid Festival 2015! We’re itching to get going on further events and we would love to serve you all again. Keep your eyes and ears peeled. Watch this space.
Check out more pictures from the event below: