The Ibrahim family made its way to the slushy stand at Como Park for a cool, colorful drink — the perfect holiday treat for a muggy Friday in June.
"I liked riding the rides," 11-year-old Amina said.
"I liked the food," 8-year-old Muntas said.
"And I'm enjoying my kids," said their dad, Ismail, with a laugh.
The Ibrahims woke up early Friday morning to go to prayer, and then they spent the rest of their day celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan when followers fast from sunrise to sundown.
Across the Twin Cities on Friday, Muslim families gathered for similar festivities to mark the end of the holy month.
"Some people would say Eid is like Muslims' Christmas, but I don't know if that's an accurate description," said Cassandra Strand, a committee member at the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque in St. Paul. "Any time you have a holiday in Islam, it's because it followed a major act of worship. This is the celebration of breaking our fast, getting closer to Allah, of all the good effort you put forth."
Strand and her husband organized a potluck at Como Park's picnic grounds to bring families together on the first day of the three-day holiday, whose dates fluctuate each year depending on the phases of the moon.
Many Muslim adults take off work for the holiday if it's during the week. Despite the heat Friday, Como was crowded with families walking through the zoo and going on rides.
Four Ahmed siblings waved up at their younger sister on the swing ride. "That's my favorite part of Eid — everyone coming together, eating, having fun," said Hamze Ahmed, 17. "That's the best part."
"And going to prayer in the morning," added his sister Hodan, 16. She and her sisters had decorated their arms with henna ink for the day.
Local businesses make special preparations for the holiday, often adding extra staffers to handle the crowds. One favorite Eid tradition for many Muslim families is eating pancakes or waffles after morning prayer.
"One of our busiest weekends is during Eid," said Phil Aslagson, an IHOP manager in Bloomington. "It's right up there with Christmas and some other major weeks."
Steve Pipkin, manager of the Original Pancake House in Burnsville, agreed. "It was crazy busy," he said.
Some establishments, such as Valleyfair, offer special promotions for those celebrating Eid. Families could print off a flier and receive discounted admission tickets.
"This is the second year we've been doing this," Valleyfair spokesperson Kelsey Bailey said. "It was such a big hit last time that we decided to do it again."
Ismail Awdeer said Eid al-Fitr is one of just two holidays that his family celebrates each year. He brought his kids to Como Park on Friday for the occasion.
"You spend a lot of money," he said with a laugh. "But we don't do this every day."