Celebrate the richness and diversity of India’s arts and culture through three days of booming music, local multi-cultural community talent, fashion, palmistry and mouthwatering, authentic Indian cuisine at the sixth annual India Mela Festival.
The Mela is a source of pride and unity for the Indian community and each year from 7,000 to 15,000 spectators enjoy the opportunity to experience and taste authentic Indian culture, says India Canada Cultural Association of Victoria director, Sunil Bhatia.
“It’s growing every year. Every year we’re adding more and more kiosks, more food varieties, more fashions, programming.”
The Mela runs from noon to 6pm on Friday, Aug. 7 then two full days, Saturday Aug 8, 11am to 8pm and Sunday, Aug 9 from 11am to 7pm, at Centennial Square. With a main stage featuring Indian arts, music, dance forms including Bhangra, dandiya/garba, classical music, 12 different multi-cultural groups and much more, this free multi-cultural celebration of life is great for the entire family.
The entire weekend will offer a mouth-watering variety of Indian cuisine at individually themed food kiosks representing many parts of India. “This year we have several restaurants involved in the showcase,” says Bhatia.
“From butter chicken to veg jal farezi, a mixed vegetable dish with cream, to our famous samosas and pakoras with mild, medium or hot chutney – we have different spice levels to try,” says Bhatia. “Cool it off with a mango lassi, a yogurt drink flavoured with mango, or try a dessert. There will be an Indian sweets stall there this year and tandoori pizza, it’s pizza with an Indian touch. And if you don’t like that – have some popcorn,” he says with a laugh.
India Canada Cultural Association of Victoria’s Mela includes an expanded kids’ corner with a variety of games, bouncy castle, basketball and an ice cream truck.
Entertainment this year includes Shiamak Dawar Academy of Bollywood Fame from Vancouver. “It’s a very famous academy. They do big Bollywood shows. They’re doing three shows on Saturday and we’ll also have local groups. There are a lot of youth from Victoria performing, the youth are very involved in promoting the culture,” he says.
The Mela is an opportunity for the whole community to gather in celebration. Every year the ICCA includes other cultures including First Nations, Chinese, Mexican, Latino, Greek and Japanese. The India Mela is free at Centennial Square. Go to iccavictoria.com for more details.
India Mela Centennial Square