Mohsin Haider wasn’t scared. Just a little bit anxious.

As the 10-year-old Tinley Park boy waited in line for his first shot at riding a pony, his friend Arej Kazi, also 10, played it cool.

“I’ve done it so many times,” said Arej, of Frankfort. “I never get tired of it.”

As Mohsin made it around the corner, his father, Syed Haider, armed with a digital camera, caught the memorable moment.

“It was pretty exciting for me because I’ve never been on a pony before, and now I know what it feels like,” Mohsin said.

The pony rides were a top attraction Sunday at the third annual American Islamic Association community fair in Frankfort. The festival, held at the mosque at 8860 W. St. Francis Road, also featured food, games, a blood drive, health screenings and a bazaar.

“It’s a community-based environment,” said Saif Nazir, who serves on the board of trustees. “The community has responded.”

Organizers were expecting about 800 people from around the Southland to make it out throughout the day.

Visiting her friend in Frankfort, Grace Keane was in town from Michigan when she heard about the event.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the local community to come together,” Keane said. “The people are very, very nice, and I got to give blood.”

Kids paraded around in their black firefighter helmets that firefighters from the Frankfort Fire Protection District had passed out. Watching the lights and sirens turn on and off was the first thing 11-year-old Hamzah Bennett wanted to tell his friends.

“It was cool,” he said as he munched on a hot dog.

Like many of the adults who opted for more spicy options, Orland Pak resident Marybeth Fath enjoyed some Aloo Palak (a spinach and potato curry).

“It’s so good,” she said. “And it’s homemade.”

Toting his 9-month-old granddaughter, Alina Baig, around from booth to booth, fair coordinator and first-time grandfather Tariq Khan smiled.

“Every year, (the fair) grows. More people, more vendors,” Khan said. “Every year, as long as I’m around, we’re going to have it every June.”


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