Muslim FunFest Expected to Attract 12,000 Guests On May 26
Organizers are making final preparations for what they say is the largest annual Muslim social event in the region – the Muslim FunFest Family Carnival.
This year the 5th annual fun-filled event will take place memorial day weekend on Saturday, May 26 starting from 12 noon. As in previous years, the venue will be High Point Farm in Clarksburg, Maryland.
Based on car counts by parking attendants, last year's crowd was estimated at well over 10,000 guests. This year organizers are hoping for 12,000 carnival goers.
The carnival began in 2008 as a project of the Washington DC area Muslim Link newspaper with the goal of bringing area masajid closer together. About 2,000 guests attended the first carnival which took place on a cloudy day beginning with light rain.
“We are grateful to Allah for the success He allowed [Muslim FunFest]. The carnival is now an exciting and highly anticipated part of the annual DMV landscape. Believe it or not, some people are actually planning their trips around FunFest because their kids refuse to miss it,” said Minhaj Hasan, editor of the Muslim Link.
Organizers said they've received several calls from families in outlying states wanting information on hotels rates for FunFest guests. “Since most of our guests come from Maryland, DC, and Virginia, we haven't looked into reserving hotel rooms, but as the event grows we might have to,” said Hasan.
Although still under the Muslim Link umbrella, FunFest is now managed by dedicated event staff and over one hundred volunteers. “The [Muslim Link] has only three full-time employees, and we are busy running the newspaper, so it was a natural and necessary hand-off in order for the carnival to grow,” said Hasan, who expects to sit in the carnival's “command center” booth again this year.
In addition to the mechanical, inflatable, and other rides from years past, the 2012 Muslim FunFest includes the “Roundup” ride, a large spinning wheel which gives riders a zero-gravity sensation. All of the rides are rented by FunFest organizers. Also, a third camel will be at FunFest for the camel ride. The helicopter ride sold out last year, and organizers are expecting it to do very well again this year.
“These larger rides are very expensive, so we take our time in choosing the best ones for our guests which will be fun as well as high capacity. Cutting down on long lines is a priority for us,” said Zafer Eroglu, a member of the FunFest organizing team.
Two years ago, after guests gave feedback about the long wait times for food, FunFest organizers redesigned the entire food ordering and delivery process resulting in dramatically shortened wait times. “We put some of our best volunteers to head the food area because its such an important part of the FunFest experience, and we want every guest to have a great experience In Shaa Allah,” said Eroglu.
Each year has seen the carnival get closer to financially breaking even; last year organizers say they met expenses. Both entry and parking are free at FunFest, while ride tickets, food, and vendor fees generate revenue to run the carnival which is a non-profit project. FunFest provides several hundred “unlimited ride wristbands” to needy children throughout the region through the zakat committees of local masajid.
To learn more or purchase tickets, visit www.muslimFunFest.com.