The Bay Area’s annual Halal Food Festival will open for its fourth consecutive year on July 16, at a new location in Fremont, California.
The festival, which attracted almost 8,000 people last year, will feature 20 different types of halal food and 30 vendors selling jewelry, books and gifts, according to Irfan Rydhan, Founder and Event Director of Halal Fest.
For a $5 admission charge, attendees will have access to halal food from vendors around the state, including Gaters from Fremont, Tava Kitchen from Palo Alto, the Kabob Trolley from San Francisco, Halal Jerky from Los Angeles and San Jose’s Sunrise Deli. This event is not to be confused with the "Halal Guys," who are food vendors in New York that have expanded to San Jose and San Francisco.
This year, the festival hours will extend from noon to 10 p.m. and feature a ferris wheel and glittering lights for all of the carnival attractions.
The event is anticipated to attract between 6,000 and 8,000 people, Rydhan said. For the past three years, the festival has been held at the NewPark Mall, in neighboring Newark. But this year, Rydhan and his team decided to shift their location to expand and reach out to more people. During its debut year, the event was so popular that the trucks ran out of food.
Halal means “permissible” in Arabic and refers to food that is prepared according to Islamic dietary guidelines, such as abstaining from pork and alcohol. Some of the most popular halal foods include falafel and gyro plates, but the festival will include many different types of cuisines—from traditional American burgers to Indian, Pakistani and Middle Eastern food.
Rydhan, an avid foodie, combined his love for unique cuisines and cultures when he created the Halal Festival four years ago. For him, the biggest joy of this event is getting to see people from different faiths come together and celebrate each other.
“It’s exciting to see all the different and diverse set of people from different cultures,” Rydhan said. “We’re trying to reach out to the general public and show the diversity of the American Muslim population and share our culture and cuisine from around the world and the country.”
The festival will take place behind the World Furniture at 40451 Albrae Street.
Tickets can be purchased at tix.HalalFest.com or Groupon.com for a further discounted price. Children 10 years and younger will be admitted for free.