halal-food-festBy Lisa Fernandez, NBC Bay Area

Muslims across the globe are poised to break pita on Thursday with a joyous festival called Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the monthlong fast of Ramadan.

And in California, Muslim foodies are also gearing up to celebrate the end of the fast with the state’s first “Halal Fest,” where nearly two dozen vendors will be selling everything from halal hot dogs to cake pops. All the goodies have been prepared according to Islamic dietary law.

“Halal Fest” is scheduled for Aug. 17 at NewPark Mall in Newark, Calif. The free event comes on the heels of similar halal-focused festivals in New Jersey, Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto.

“I got the idea after I visited New York City,” said Irfan Rydhan of San Jose, 38, a self-described “halal foodie” and Muslim activist who is one of eight key California Halal Fest organizers. “I saw all these halal food carts, and I wondered why we couldn’t do that here.”

So he started talking to friends last summer and began planning the festival, which will boast not only food, but Moroccan jazz, and skateboard, fitness, chess and hip hop demonstrations. Rydhan said he hopes at least 2,000 people will attend. As of this week, his group’s Facebook page has more than 1,200 “likes.” (Read more)


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