Dozens of people have gathered at City Hall Sunday for the Palestinian Festival at Marian Dewar Plaza.
Organizer Ammar Afaneh tells CFRA they decided to hold the festival to put their culture on display.
"We wanted to show the Palestinian culture, the food, the music, all these things here in Canada, a country that promotes multiculturalism," says Afaneh. "Unfortunately, in the Western media, all that you hear about that area is about the war. But we wanted to show something different like those people there are just like us: they have their lives, they have their food, and so on."
Afaneh says when the current crisis in Gaza broke out, planning for the festival was already well underway. "When it happened, we did kind of pause for a second and say, 'do we want to do a Palestinian festival at this time?' and we said yes, because we wanted to show something different than what the media was showing."
The festival includes food, music and dancing, and even an old-fashioned bazaar.
"We tried to make it look kind of like an old street from Old Jerusalem," says Afaneh. "Different vendors came from all over the country, from here in Ottawa, and from Windsor and Toronto, and we brought some stuff ourselves, like fair trade products."
The festival runs until 11:00 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.