Yesterday (Sunday) marked the first annual Halal Food Festival here locally in Central New Jersey.
Did it run smoothly without any hitches? No. But you know what? An event at that scale almost never does. And for all those complaining (there seems to be quite a few of them), how about appreciating the event, and the time and effort the organizers put towards it… and if you must be a complainer — this one’s for you: how about some constructive criticism that the organizers are welcoming and actually REQUESTING. Or how about pitching in? They did ask for volunteers and such, did they not? It always surprises me that the first to complain are the last to pitch in.
I think the idea of the Halal Food Festival was brilliant, and I’m sure the organizers have learned a lot from this year for future such events. At the end of the day, there is no better way to learn than through experience.
Basically local halal restaurants set up shop, providing samples (some for free, others for $1 or $2) and selling meals ($5-$7). The cuisines present were diverse — Mexican, Chinese, Afghani, Pakistani/Indian, and Italian to name a few. While some of the restaurants present I had been to previously, there were a few that I hadn’t heard of/been to before.
I actually ended up going twice: the first time, near the start time of the event, with my brothers and than once more several hours later with my dad and one of my brothers. The first time, it was a lot less crowded, everything seemed to be running smoothly, and I was able to walk around and see what restaurants were participating, and sample from several different places without a problem or much chaos.
When I went back later, it must have finally been DST — that’s Desi Standard Time (late to everything but expect everything) because there was a line of people waiting outside to get in. I overheard a bunch of these people complaining of the craziness inside, the lack of organization, and how most places inside were running out of food. I’m sorry but if you are showing up at an event that was expecting around 1000 people but 4000+ people actually showed up around (or past) 4:30 PM which was scheduled to run from 12 to 5 PM, you shouldn’t be complaining about any of this.
And you know what? I’m sorry, but I’d rather they run out of food than have an abundant supply of leftover that is gone to waste!
Another major complaint I heard? Parking. Tell me where parking wouldn’t be an issue for such a huge crowd? Let’s say if they do decide to rent a hall for next year, like the Expo Hall where we have had Eid prayers many times, I am sure not many would be happy to help contribute towards the rent cost.
At the end of the day, I think people need to stop complaining and learn to enjoy things. Life happens. It was a great event, and unless you are giving 100% of yourself in to the event and helping out, don’t just sit there and complain… help!