Chicago area residents get taste of Turkish culture at 3-day festival

Chicago area residents get taste of Turkish culture at 3-day festival

Guests at Turkish Festival connect with family roots, experience new cultures, enjoy family-friendly attractions

People in the Chicago area in the US Midwest got a taste of Turkish culture over the past three days at a festival showcasing traditional cuisine, art and performances.

For cousins Wendy and Laila, going to the Turkish Festival was an opportunity to get in touch with their Turkish family’s roots.

“My father is from Erzurum (a city in eastern Türkiye), so I love everything Turkish,” Wendy said, speaking to Anadolu about her time at the event.

“We just wanted to be connected with our culture because we don’t get much of that here in the Chicagoland area,” said Laila.

For other visitors at the event, the desire to learn about new cultures was a prime motivation for going.

Peg, a woman from Waukesha County in the state of Wisconsin, made the two-hour drive south to attend the festival.

“I came with a friend of mine,” she told Anadolu, adding she is originally from Bosnia.

“So I said ‘let’s go to the Turkish Festival, I have family that was raised with the Turks.’”

“It seemed very interesting to me. And I loved the food, I loved the Turkish Delights,” she added.

Maddy and her husband Ryan, who visited the event on Sunday, said they also enjoyed the Turkish Festival, especially with their baby daughter Rowan, who played with other children at traditional art and crafts stalls.

“We wanted to come, and it’s so family-friendly,” Maddy said, adding they had been to Istanbul a couple of weeks ago.

“And we wanted more baklava…We got lots. She had lots as well,” she said, gesturing to Rowan.

Maddy added that she especially liked the shops and stalls at the festival selling a myriad of traditional goods from the Turkish and Muslim community such as perfumes.

“Also, my favorite part is just seeing all of the kids just playing together. They had the kids’ area in the back with toys, and seeing kids playing is fun,” she said.

Anadolu served as the global communication partner of the festival, where about 230 stands had been set up at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center since Friday showcasing traditional art techniques such as water marbling, copper working and woodblock printing.

Spearheaded by the Chicago-based Zakat Foundation, it also featured performances by jazz flutist Kamilah Furqaan, Turkish musician Fatih Koca, Macedonian singer of Turkish descent Mesut Kurtis and Moldovan singer Leonida Timus on its final day on Sunday.

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