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Published: Monday, 9/9/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

13th ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL

Islamic Center of Greater Toledo using event as grand re-opening

Nearly one year ago center was subject of attempted arson

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
People enjoy the themselves at last year's International Festival at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. People enjoy the themselves at last year's International Festival at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo.
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The Islamic Center of Greater Toledo is throwing its 13th annual International Festival this weekend as a grand re-opening after nearly a year ago it was set on fire by an arsonist. 

The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Islamic Center at 25877 Scheider Rd. More than 100 different types of food from more than 12 countries will be available. 

"The biggest thing that brings people in is food," said Ahmad Taouil, festival chairman. "Food, food, food. That's the big hit because people love the different ethnic foods. The rides are more to keep the kids entertained."

Mr. Taouil said last year they had about 10,000 people come to the two-day festival and they are expecting more this year. 

Eating isn't the only attraction. Carnival rides, a $6 zip-line ride, pony and camel rides, a petting zoo, and arts and crafts are some things for children to look forward to this weekend. The Perrysburg Township spray trailer will also be there, where children can spray fake flames out. An extreme trampoline, rock climbing wall, and bouncy houses are other activities at the festival.

Mr. Taouil said this is the grand reopening since the fire Sept. 30, 2012, and most everything is repaired. He said they still are waiting on carpet ordered for their prayer room.

Randolph Linn, 52, of St. Joe, Ind., convicted of setting the fire, was ordered in April to spend 20 years in prison and also was ordered in U.S. District Court to pay more than $1.4 million in restitution to the mosque and its insurance company.

At the festival, foods from Pakistan, South East Asia, Bosnia, Brazil, Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Saudi Arabia will be available to purchase. There also will be cooking demonstrations and a program book that has different recipes for ethnic foods. 

Admission is free, parking is $3, and different foods and rides have costs that start at $1. Mr. Taouil said the most expensive ride is the $6 zip line, and meals general cost $4 or $5.

"This is both an outreach and fund-raising festival," Mr. Taouil said. "The money we get goes back into the community through blood drives, food banks, and into the center."

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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