DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — Right outside Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn workers are busy setting up tents for this year's Ramadan Suhoor Festival.
With a footprint of nearly two football fields, the festival's founder Hassan Chami says he is expecting over 100,000 people in attendance.
"We are going to have about 55,000 square feet of tents. The exterior of the tents will be enclosed. They are going to be open inside. We will have vendors in here, food, merch, dessert, drinks. We will also have a food truck park, that's 45,000 square feet," said Chami.
The installation of heated tents has taken the festival's budget from $225,000 to a whopping half a million dollars. But with the community supporting the decision to introduce a cover charge, Hassan says he can now offset the cost.
"It's a place for us to showcase and celebrate our faith, for people of other faiths to come by. It is a place to build bridges," said Chami.
Over 80 vendors have signed up, ranging from food to merchandise. One of them is the co-owner of Gourmet, Mohammed Ali Alamen. Newly turned entrepreneurs Mohammed and his wife are excited to offer cheesecakes and chocolates.
"We came last year, we saw everyone, it was a very joyful event. And everyone was here and happy and we decided 'hey, let's share our recipe with everyone' and be part of the community," said Alamen.
During Ramadan, Muslims don't eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. Owner of Holy Cluck, Ali Bazi says he loves to participate in the festival every year because Ramadan is a month of giving and appreciating food, all under the umbrella of bringing the community together regardless of race or religion.
7 Action News reporter, Faraz Javed asked Bazi, "What's the biggest selling point for the festival?"
Bazi said "Charity, Charity, Charity. The fact that they are giving back to the less fortunate is what really sells."
Last year, over $200,000 was donated to The Amity Foundation. The proceeds also went towards over ten educational scholarships, among other charitable initiatives.
This year's Ramadan Suhoor Festival kicks off on March 24th and will run every weekend from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. during the holy month of Ramadan. For more information, head to ramadansuhoorfest.com.