BEIRUT: Pop star Najwa Karam will be performing Saturday evening in Sassine Square along with other artists taking part in this year’s Live Ashrafieh Festival. During a news conference Wednesday, Beirut MP Michel Pharaon invited the public to attend the third edition of the free, annual street festival, and enjoy the activities that convey the “joyful spirit” of the neighborhood.
“Everyone knows that Ashrafieh is full of spirit and we are always working with the ... council and civil society organizations to encourage initiatives in the area, and one of them is the Live Ashrafieh Festival,” Pharaon said.
The free festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m., kicking off with games for children. The performances will start at 7:30 p.m. and will include a performance by Ktir Salbe, a comedy troupe that has its own weekly show on MTV, and a performance by Karam.
According to Pharaon, the organizers had doubts about their ability to complete preparations for the festival due to the tense security situation in the country but said they were inspired to continue by the recent passing of Ghassan Tueni, a former MP for the capital, whose spirit mirrored that of Ashrafieh’s with “its love for life and its refusal to give in to defeat.”
Beirut MP Nadim Gemayel, who was also at the conference, said that the festival is taking place at a time when the country’s tourism sector is suffering a major setback because of the uncertainty in the region.
“We chose in Ashrafieh to put all suffering aside and work on planting a smile on the faces of parents and children, as well as planting hope in the heart of all Lebanese,” Gemayel said, calling on people from across the country to participate in the festival.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 21, 2012, on page 4.