Hands down, it’s the summer of street festivals in Beirut. Wherever you go or whether you’re just browsing Facebook looking for something to do on Sunday, you’ll find an announcement for a street festival happening around the city.
These are usually the most crowded streets around town, where you can’t but get stuck in traffic for hours on end and be subject to the worst that the country has to offer.
But when there’s a street festival? That’s a whole different thing. It seems with the closing off of the area to pedestrians only, the whole mood of the people changes, and you get to see the city and its residents from a whole different perspective.
And we go to every single one, because it’s just great to take it all in and see people bringing their smiles and happy attitudes, instead of constantly nagging that we don’t have a president, don’t have electricity, don’t have water, don’t have security, don’t have this, don’t have that (then proceed to do nothing about it). I love seeing parents with their young ones or friends hanging out or someone walking their dog around.
This weekend was Hamra Street’s turn- and I was so thrilled to go because that street and the area of the same name are very special to me.
I grew up around Hamra Street so I know its in and outs with my eyes closed. I know what shops used to be where and can tell a story in each and every corner. But it is one of the busiest streets no matter what time of day you pass, thanks to all the offices, retail stores, restaurants, and bars that make the area up.
So, I was thrilled to see it take on a different look. And it was equally nice to have the street festival’s theme honor Lebanon and Beirut’s golden days.
There were black and white pictures of famous landmarks and the greatest icons of the cinema and entertainment industry all around the street. This is one I they had up of the Phoenicia Hotel
Sure, the stands are almost always the same: random accessories, crafts, food, kids entertainment, and sure people look the same with their flower crowns, shorts and floral dresses, and flip flops- but I guess it just gives the whole place a vibe.
One of the cooler things that happened at this event was us finding this older gentleman who had set up his own stand to do calligraphy for those asking. We approached him with our names and he quickly guessed we were a couple. The end result was this very nice and interpretative take on our relationship. I know we’ll be hanging it around the house.
If these almost weekly events are any indication of what we can do, I’d say we truly can put in the effort to make something memorable and enjoyable for all sorts of people.
You don’t need a fancy club or the most expensive restaurant to have fun.
It can be right in your neighborhood, and that’s why I’m impressed with Beirut lately.