A Grand Success! – Indian Food & Cultural Festival/Vaisakhi Mela
The 14th annual Indian Food Festival on Saturday, May 6th, showcased the finest of the food festivals in Las Vegas.
The unprecedented attendance, magnificent entertainment with diverse and scrumptious Indian cuisine led to the most successful Indian Food Festival at the lush & palatial amphitheater grounds in fabulous downtown Las Vegas. The organizers and the volunteer teams’ dedication & hard work was clearly visible in a flawless and thoughtful execution of the 10-hours event with a record-breaking attendance of over 12,000 Las Vegans.
Attendees started showing up early in the day with the majority of them non-Indians. Lines started forming around the food stalls right away at the opening of entry gates at 11 in the morning. As planned, the entertainment program started without delay with an opening ceremony, a yoga demonstration along with a performance from local kids of all age groups and a classical performance by the local dance companies – Shruti & Purbasha dance group.
The medley of classical and Bollywood Indian dances was followed by the performance from numerous visiting dance groups, mainly bhangra, from the California Universities and, also from Texas A&M University, College Station and Brown University, Providence, Rhode Islands. The unsullied enthusiasm displayed by the competing teams was stimulating and entertaining under the beautiful clear & cool Vegas afternoon. The busiest booth was complimentary turban tying where volunteers were overwhelmed by the curious crowd on getting their own turban in vivacious colors.
By this time, many of the attendees were already savoring the wide array of reasonably priced Indian delicacies at the food stalls operated by the local Indian restaurants. All the restaurants were busy throughout the event churning out the freshly prepared Southern and Northern Indian cuisine. The gastronomical mouthwatering selection included – freshly grilled Kababs; selection of Biryanis; Dosas and Vadas with Sambar and Chutnies’; Indo-Chinese Manchurian Cauliflower & Chicken; Vegetarian Noodles; Vegetable & Fish Pakoras; Samosa & Chat Papri; along with assorted drink selections from Lassi to Faloda to satisfy the demanding cravings of mela attendees. The closing festivities started with an immensely popular Canadian World Music Bhangra Band EN KARMA from Vancouver which kept the attendees on their feet for over an hour. EN KARMA with their live drummer, an enthusiastic dhol guy, and a DJ played the best and the latest of Punjabi Bhangra music.
Congresswoman Dina Titus, newly elected Congressman Ruben Kihuen, County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony and Municipal Court Judge Heidi Almase graced the occasion with their presence. Commissioner Sisolak and Councilman Anthony presented a proclamation to the President of Baba Deep Singh Gurudwara declaring May 6th, 2017 as Indian Food Festival/Baba Deep Singh Day in Las Vegas.
The Indian culturati was seen strolling the grounds, mingling and socializing with friends and enjoying a once a year Indian festival. The group of Las Vegas Metro Police Department volunteers were present throughout to curtail any untoward incident.
This year festival experienced a record-breaking attendance along with an all-time high food sale. The grounds were packed with attendees and with more than the usual parade of vendors from California were busy selling Indian jewelry, clothing and other fashion accessories. All the vendors experienced a brisk sale of their exceptionally unique merchandise.
Overall an exceptionally well-executed depiction of diverse India from entertainment to cuisine. Online social media and well-placed advertisements on google, Groupon and other media sites assisted in boosting the attendance to this year food festival. Many of the local businesses enthusiastically sponsored the event to connect with the growing and prosperous Las Vegas Indian/South Asian community. All the funds raised from the mela will go to the Gurudwara Baba Deep Singh for their routine maintenance, operating and future capital expenses.
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