The 5th Annual Israel Festival and 5K Run/Walk comes to Shelby Farms on Sunday, June 10, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The free, family-oriented event will again offer the popular attractions that bring thousands from the Mid-South: music, food, children’s activities, speakers and fascinating educational exhibits.
Here are some of the highlights of this year’s festival presented by the Memphis Friends of Israel:
The festival’s special guest is Bret Stephens, foreign-affairs columnist of the Wall Street Journal and deputy editorial page editor. Before coming to the Wall Street Journal, he was editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post from 2002–2004. He is the winner of the 2008 Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism and is a frequent contributor to Commentary magazine. As a well-recognized expert on Israel and world affairs, he has also appeared as a commentator on numerous news shows, including The Charlie Rose Show, and on CNN, the BBC and Fox. He will speak at the Festival at 1 p.m.
There is a great lineup of entertainment again this year. A main attraction is The Amazing Bottle Dancers from Southern California — a proven hit around the world, having performed at weddings, B’nai Mitzvahs, birthdays, anniversaries and tribute dinners. They have appeared on the ABC sitcom “Life With Bonnie,” and Regis Philbin has featured them on his show. Also performing is the popular folk-pop duo Rusty Graber and David Bearman, the Shalom Israeli Folk Dancers, the Stars of David Band, and a special appearance by the inimitable Schmelvis, an Elvis tribute artist who has been tracing Elvis Presley’s roots since the 1970s. There will be other bands and children’s choruses as well all day long at the Festival.
There is an outstanding educational component to the Israel Festival this year: A special exhibition of artifacts from Tell en-Nasbeh, an archaeological site generally thought to be the remains of the Biblical city of Mizpah from the book of Benjamin. The artifacts will be on display on the Israel Festival grounds throughout the day, along with other educational presentations.
The Tell en-Nasbeh exhibit, “Daily Life in an Ancient Judean Town,” is on loan from the Bade Museum of Biblical Archaeology in Berkeley, Calif. It contains artifacts dating from 1000 to 500 B.C. that were excavated between 1926 and 1935 by William Frederic Bade of the Pacific School of Religion. A pioneer in the field of Biblical archaeology, Bade saw an opportunity to excavate Biblical sites arising from the collapse of the Ottoman Turkish Empire which had administered the lands encompassing the site for centuries and banned excavation of archaeological sites. Today the site is administered by the Israeli Antiquties Authority and is open to all.
Other educational tents at the festival will reveal fascinating facts about Israel and Jewish culture. Walk among the booths that feature Ask the Rabbi, Ask the Israelis, Travel, Famous and Interesting People, Places and Things. You may be surprised to find out about how Israeli advancements in technology, medicine and agriculture have made it a world leader in these fields.
For children, the Festival will offer the Moon Bounce, Rock Climbing Wall and Slide, plus they can have their faces painted, make jewelry or visit the Petting Zoo.
Grownups as well as kids will enjoy the variety of Festival food booths with something for everyone: Kosher and Jewish/Israeli foods as well as popular local fair goodies such as Pronto Pups, Funnel Cakes and Ice Cream treats.
There will also be Israeli and American-made art and crafts.
The 5K Race/Walk kocks off the daylong Israel Festival at 9 a.m. at Shelby Farms Park. The Race/Walk goes along a three-mile, multi-use paved trail. This 8-foot-wide paved loop takes participants past the bison range, over and around Chickasaw Lake, along Mullins Station Road, through the playground area and past Pine Lake before returning to the Visitor Center. The scenery is great and the travel is gentle with a few hills. For registration and more information, go to http://friendsofisrael5k.com. Registration is $20.
Memphis Friends of Israel is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to educate the general public about Israeli culture, art, tourism, etc.
5th Annual Israel Festival and 5K Run/Walk
Sunday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Shelby Farms Park
5K Run/Walk at 9 a.m. Registration $20
Schedule of Events
9:00 RACE START TIME
9:30 - 10:00 Klezmer Music
10:00 - 10:15 Shalom Israeli Folk Dancers
10:15 - 11:00 Rusty Graber and David Bearman
11:00 - 11:15 The Amazing Bottle Dancers
11:15 - 11:30 Shalom Israeli Folk Dancers
11:30 - 12:00 Rusty Graber and David Bearman
12:00 - 12:15 The Amazing Bottle Dancers
12:15 - 12:55 Stars of David Band
12:55 - 1:00 Schmelvis
1:00 - 1:30 Israel Rally
1:30 - 1:45 The Amazing Bottle Dancers
1:45 - 2:30 Israel Scout Caravan
2:30 - 3:15 Stars of David Band
3:15 - 3:30 The Amazing Bottle Dancers
3:30 - 3:45 Margolin Hebrew Academy Choir
3:45 - 4:30 Israel Scout Caravan
4:30 - 4:45 Big Mac Jack
4:45 - 5:00 The Amazing Bottle Dancers