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A family fest

DHA Food Festival one-upped all previous food fests and markets that Lahore has seen by catering to families and kids alike

A family fest
The event sought to provide more than just food varieties. — Photos by the author

Lahore’s biggest food festival was recently held in DHA. To the pleasant surprise of many, it proved to be a mega affair in terms of participation and the activities planned for the day.

Organised by the people behind the popular Khalis Food Market, the timing of DHA Food Festival (as it was named) couldn’t be better as spring was in full swing. The event sought to provide more than just food varieties.

“We wanted to bring food producers together with the entertainers on one platform,” claimed Rizwan Naeem, the founder-creator of the festival.

A lush green ground in Phase 5 was used as the venue of the event. The place was decked up in lights that overlooked an array of food stalls, kids’ play area and a stage for musical performances and giveaways. There was ample parking space, with separate entrances and exits.

The idea of holding a food festival is not something new. What made this particular event stand out was its execution. When Naeem started with Khalis two years ago, he was contributing to a growing market of healthy, organic food. His next goal was to create an annual festival with lots of food and fun activities for the entire family.

The security at the venue was duly strict, with a host of walk-thu gates. There were portable washrooms, a first-aid station, an ambulance and a fire brigade in attendance. An information and help desk had also been created at the event.

The concert performances included Hamza Butt (of Nescafé Basement) and Bilal Ali (a famous Coke Studio guitarist).

Throughout the day’s activities, giveaways were announced. The Cake-off segment had different participants along with home bakers who had submitted over a dozen cakes to the contest in the catchily titled “Best looking” and “Best tasting” categories.

The Play Planet (PP) had to be the largest play area for kids to have been created for such an event in the city. With over fifteen attractions that included rides, the PP was consistently busy.

The place was decked up in lights that overlooked an array of food stalls, kids’ play area and a stage for musical performances and giveaways.

The place was decked up in lights that overlooked an array of food stalls, kids’ play area and a stage for musical performances and giveaways.

There were 80 stalls at the festival. These included mini cafés and organic food joints offering a multitude of options from BBQ to nutella nan, pies, puri-chanas, parathas, bakery items, pathooray-channay, Chinese, fast food and so much more. It was a perfect family affair.

The main sponsors had brought three calves (baby cows) in a makeshift farmhouse setup which attracted the kids in particular.

A photo booth, with an old-Lahore backdrop, was another attraction of the event. Fireworks were another major highlight.

Sana Mir, Naeem’s partner in the festival, spoke of a record turnout of visitors. Seeing the success of the event, “we intend to come back with a two-day festival, towards the end of the year. It shall be focused more on entertainment and designed as a carnival. We cannot give away a lot of information right now but I can promise it will be bigger, better and brighter.”

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