As such a food-obsessed city with a global worldview, Chicago is an excellent choice for the United States’ inaugural Halal lifestyle expo. I Heart Halal will set up shop at Navy Pier for three days in mid-April, in what’s intended to be the first of a yearly showcase.
For the unfamiliar, the word Halal means “permissible” in Arabic; in a basic sense, the word indicates what followers of Islam are allowed to eat, according to the Quaran. (It’s not dissimilar to keeping Kosher.) However, to the organizers of I Heart Halal, the word means much more: nutritious, wholesome, and healthy. In fact, the “Halal economy” has been growing rapidly worldwide in recent years, as demand for all-natural foods has boomed. While I Heart Halal will include an extensive tasting hall, according to organizers, the lifestyle expands beyond the culinary. The event will include the first-ever high-end Modest Fashion show in North America, a kids zone, a bazaar of merchants, as well as cooking, beauty, health and wellness demonstrations.
The three-day event is organized by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, the official certifier of Halal products in the United States. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is also a festival partner, in line with its mission to promote multiculturalism in the state.
It’s all happening from April 13 to 15 at the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. General Admission tickets are just $5—you can grab ‘em here. I Heart Halal is just another example of Navy Pier becoming—gasp!—a place where Chicagoans actually want to hang out.