By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The 7th Annual Turkish Food and Art Festival will take place at Myriad Gardens Great Lawn in downtown Oklahoma City on Saturday September 24, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The opening ceremony will be held at noon.
Organized by the Raindrop Foundation, the Turkish Food and Art Festival is free to attend and sponsored by the Kirkpatrick Foundation, Dialogue Institute Oklahoma City, American Turkic Business Council and the World Experience Foundation.
Drawing over 2500 people last year, .the Festival encourages respect and understanding among different cultures in Oklahoma, according to organizers.
The Festival’s 50-member Advisory Council has again planned a family-friendly, fun-filled day featuring art, food and world experiences.
Festival guests will see art dating back to the 8th century AD, showcasing Turkish tiles and ceramics, calligraphy and water Marbling known as Ebru.
Ebru marbling is the art of creating colorful patterns by sprinkling and brushing color pigments on a pan of oily water and then transferring this pattern to paper.
The World Experiences Stage will feature folk dancers from Turkey, Mexico, Columbia, Guatemala, India and Pakistan and musicians will play a variety of music from around the world.
Not to be missed are the Tasting Experiences Tents. Guests can learn about culinary traditions that have been part of Turkish cuisine over the centuries.
Participants can select from delectable items such as Doner Kebab, Shish Kebab, Lahmajoun (Turkish Pizza), Icli Kofte (Meatballs stuffed with cracked wheat), Gozleme (Turkish Style Waffle), Manti (Turkish Dumplings), Baklava, Mezzes (Appetizers), Sarma (Stuffed Vine Leaves) and more.
The festival will offer kid friendly activities such as face painting, along with refreshments such as popcorn and cotton candy.
“Oklahomans will have a chance to celebrate, learn, and savor Turkish hospitality, culture, heritage, and cuisine,” said Kadir Akkus, executive director of the Raindrop Turkish Foundation.
“The Festival is a fun day for the whole family. Attendees will be able to browse and buy souvenirs and handicrafts and get travel information while participating in activities for their families. Such activities enhance the sharing of love, happiness and the universal values of different cultures,” Akkus added.
Enes Kanter, a Turkish National and OKC Thunder NBA star, will be a special guest at the event.
At last year’s festival Kanter told Nick Gallo, OKC Thunder Basketball writer, “It’s amazing. People come and are with the Turkish community. These kinds of events bring us together and leave our differences on the table. This event is really important to me because I see the people from different cities. That’s what it’s all about – to bring everyone together.”
Raindrop Turkish House is a non-profit 501(c)(3), educational, charitable, social and cultural organization that operates in six states: Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and New Mexico.
During the festival, the International Day of Peace Walk will be held on the Myriad Gardens Great Lawn from 2 – 2:45 p.m. Speakers will include Aamr Hasanjee, CAIR and UCO’s Student Association, Maureen Heffernan, Myriad Gardens Executive Director; Kuaybe Basturk, Dialogue Institute of Oklahoma City; and Sinead Maguina, President of the UNA-OKC.
Akkus said, “In Turkey we have a saying that goes, ‘a cup of coffee brings forty years of friendship.’ We hope such cultural events will contribute to sustain our lifetime friendships and cooperation.”
For more information, call 405-702-0222, or visit www.turkishfestivaloklahoma.com.