News: July 14, 2005
Petra Grand Finale is August 13
|Plan Your Visit|
|When & Where
August 13, from 2 to 10 p.m at Calvin's Prince Conference Center
All Tickets Include:
Call (616) 526-7800 or 1-800-PETRA05 for tickets.
Calvin College has offered a whirlwind of events — culinary and musical evenings, a family festival and even a ballet — to complement the Petra: Lost City of Stone exhibition visiting the college through August 15.
But the best is yet to come, according to members of the Petra Steering Committee.
On August 13, from 2 to 10 p.m., Calvin will conclude its five-month celebration of Middle Eastern culture with the Petra Grand Finale.
The event, to be held in the Sultan's Tent, adjacent to the Prince Conference Center where Petra is housed, will be, says Calvin's hospitality manager Souzan Karadsheh, an appropriate conclusion to the exhibition.
"It's truly going to be a big bash," she says simply.
Modeled on the successful Petra Family Festival, which drew over 800 visitors to the college and the exhibition in May, the Petra Grande Finale will bring together Middle Eastern entertainers, food, vendors, arts and crafts, and other activities.
In addition to all the festivities, a free tour of the Petra: Lost City of Stone exhibition is included in the ticket price of $15 for adults and $12 for children.
But the Grande Finale, says Karadsheh, will be on an even bigger scale than the Family Festival and will offer a few big prizes — and the grand prize is a trip for two to Jordan!
The entertainment for the finale will be continuous.
The 18 singers, dancers and musicians of the Al-Arz Lebanese Art Group, along with professional belly dancer Deniz, will provide entertainment for the crowd as will professional qanun player Ara Topouzian (the qanun is an Arabic or Turkish zither).
Vendors will sell Middle Eastern souvenirs, books, music, clothing, décor items, pottery, woodwork, jewelry and even non-perishable groceries. A wonderful Middle Eastern meal of kabobs, hummus, tabbouleh, baklava and Arabic coffee, catered by the Pita House and included in the ticket price, is available all day. Artisans will offer henna art, caricature, Arabic calligraphy and photography. The Dress Petra Photo Booth — a big hit at the Family Festival — will allow visitors to take home a complimentary photo of themselves in Middle Eastern garb.
The Grande Finale will also offer the opportunity for visitors to wear authentic Middle Eastern garb in a fashion show!
Volunteers will model rare pieces from the renowned collection of Sally de Vries as the collector narrates the significance of the clothing. Be there at 8:00 p.m. to participate.
Like the fashion show, many of the events at the Petra Grande Finale are designed to do more than entertain, Karadsheh said.
"This (Finale) will be fun, but it will also be educational," she says.
For example, educator Michael Shamat, a calligrapher from the Detroit area, will be on hand throughout the event to write visitors' names in Arabic and help them understand the meanings behind the symbols.
"Michael enjoys talking to people about Arabic writing, which is truly an art. At our May festival, Michael's station remained very busy the entire time," says Karadsheh.
Grande Finale visitors also can enter a drawing for items from the exhibition's Souk el-Haddaya gift shop. In fact, the first 200 guests that come into the tent will receive a complimentary poster by the renowned photographer Vivian Ronay. There will also be drawings for many other prizes and gift certificates provided by other vendors like Mediterranean Island, The Pita House, Studio Jewel. "In fact, most, if not all, vendors and artisan participating will provide a gift of a gift certificate to be raffled throughout the day," says Karadsheh.
The Grand Prize is a seven-day trip for two to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with airfare and lodging generously provided by Royal Jordanian Airlines and Marriott Hotels of Jordan. Itinerary planning and transportation to and from the airport are provided by the Jordan Tourism Board North America.
The drawing for the Grand Prize will take place during the 9 p.m. Salute to Petra concert that closes the Grande Finale. The concert will feature a variety of Middle Eastern songs and dances as well as a special musical dedication to Petra.
Even after five months of Petra-flavored events, Karadsheh is still enthusiastic about the exhibition and about Middle Eastern culture.
In Grand Rapids, Petra: Lost City of Stone is presented by:
Organized by the American Museum of Natural History and the Cincinnati Art Museum, and presented under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, Petra is the first major cultural collaboration between Jordan and the United States. Air transportation generously provided by Royal Jordanian.
Calvin College gratefully acknowledges the generous support of our sponsors.