Express Family Festival: ‘Mauj, Masti aur Maza’ for children and parents at the Expo Centre

Locals and foreigners flow in to visit the thee-day festival, which started on Friday.

Rida Sakina February 12, 2011

KARACHI: Cars, taxis, rickshaws and mini-buses block the entrance leading to the Expo Centre, trailing to the main road. A family of six tumbles out of a magical rickshaw, the children grinning from ear to ear and tugging at their parents.

A clown on stilts, costumed in layers of yellow and turquoise, holds six-month-old Arsalan. Not quite understanding what was going on, he blinks at the clown’s face, terrified yet amused.

The first day of the Express Family Festival 2011 took off on Friday with families flowing in the hundreds for ‘Mauj, Masti aur Maza’ [Spirit, Playfulness and Fun].

The festival, organised by the Express media group, was inaugurated by Karachi Administrator Fazul Rehman.

It attracted children, teachers, marketing hot-shots, and mothers who simply wanted to let their children run free after a long week at school.

Three-year-old Faiza and her two-year-old brother struggle to bounce on the 10-foot-wide encaged trampoline, uncertain of how exactly the toy works. They are trying this for the first time, said their father. “Jump!” he assured them. “It’s great fun for our kids because we live in a small one bedroom portion so we can bring them to these family affairs for free,” he rejoiced, adding that “It gives the whole family a chance to breathe freely.”

“Sakoon ki saas lene attay hain idhar,” [We come to breathe freely, relax] sighed 38-year-old Farhana Tariq, her two daughters laughing by her side. “It’s a refreshing change and you can wander around,” she said. Farhana brought her ‘mehmaan’ or relatives, visiting from Quetta to see the fun fair. “At a time when our country is in a state of tatters, these events allow you to look forward to something,” said first-time-visitor to Karachi, Nargis Iqbal.

The aroma of the food stalls set up outside lingers on for miles. Greasy chicken or beef rolls smothered in chatni, biryani of the sea and piping hot Singaporean noodles and rice overflow out of the metallic dish.

Indoors, the older bunch roamed the three halls. ‘Munni badnaam hui, darling tere liye’ blared through the speakers.

“The music is too loud! I can’t hear or think,” complained 38-year-old Imran Siddiqui. His three-year-old son Sameer was sleeping peacefully in his stroller, undisturbed by the ruckus. Siddiqui was accompanied by his Swiss in-laws, who arrived three days ago. Both hard of hearing, Peter and Elsa laughed at their son-in-law’s flustered state and sighed, “We love Pakistan and we love coming to such lively festivals. The food, the clothes. It’s all great!”

Two-year-old Sohail shrank from the dancing chicken that was with the Seasons Canola Oil team. But six-year-old Jahangir, 15-year-old Safina encircled the chicken’s dance floor with some 30 other spectators. “It’s my favourite dance,” smiled Safina. “It’s also my favourite thing so far this year,” added her 13-year-old sister.

The big names, Peki, Colgate, McDonalds, As Seen on TV, Bank Alfalah and many others arranged stalls at the fair. Sixty-year-old Muhammad Umar was also given the opportunity to sell his plastic Spiderman, Tweety and other cartoon character masks outside, near the entrance. “Boohat achey loog hain,” Umar praised the event organisers. He approached them a few days ago but was disappointed to find the price of one stall was Rs20,000. “But then one of the organisers told me I could set up a table outside free of charge,” he added. And so, there is something for everyone.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2011.


Adnan | 12 years ago | Reply It is better to have nominal enterance fee to avoid enentry of unnecessary people. We were not able to move freely on the last day. Overall event was goot but lacking fun activities for kids.
Jawwad | 12 years ago | Reply where fastivel plzzZ tell me *
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