Indian Food Festival/Vaisakhi Mela Attracts Unprecedented Crowd
The 12th annual Indian Food Festival aka Vaisakhi Mela on Saturday, the 25th of April, showcased the finest of the food festivals in Las Vegas.
The long awaited Indian mela was finally here under the beautiful clear crisp Saturday morning sky. Crowd started showing up early in the day with majority of them non-Indians with lines started forming around the food stalls early in the morning. As planned, programing started without delay at 11a.m., beginning with classical and Bollywood Indian dances followed by performance by numerous visiting bhangra groups. However, around 515 p.m. the Mother Nature took control of the evening with gusty winds and severe thunderstorms. Mela attendees were seen running for the cover but with limited options everyone left the soaking amphitheater grounds by 6 p.m. For all practical purposes, Mela was over. Organizers are contemplating whether to celebrate the festivities again within two or three months or come back with better and brighter mela in 2016. Much awaited performance by headliner Kay V Singh and DJ Aladdin couldn’t materialize due to evening of horrid thunderstorms.
By early afternoon, the Amphitheater was packed with over three thousand attendees and long lines were seen where attendees clamoring for the taste of Indian cuisine. By early evening over sixty five hundred admission tickets were sold. All the food stalls were doing brisk business showcasing their savory delights. Some of the dishes served were especially prepared for the diverse mela attendees. Some of the uniquely prepared mouth- watering dishes are not available at the restaurant. The offerings included – Indian Chinese, Biryani, Gol Gappas, Chat Papdi, Pav Bhaji, Fish Pakodas, Chicken Kababs, Masala Dosa to full gourmet vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes cooked in a traditional mirepoix along with wide array of specially prepared drinks and desserts – Mango Lassi, Chaj, Falooda, Masala Chai, Halwa and Rabri Malpua. After enjoying an exemplary selection of gourmet delights, there were no palate cleansers available for the food connoisseurs. However, Mint India was offering a perfect tasting sweet Pan topped with maraschino cherries. For the first time, instead of traveling bar from the back of the car trunk, the full bar was set up for liquor aficionados.
Stavros Anthony, Mayor Pro Tem and City Councilman, City of Las Vegas, was seen enjoying socializing among many of his supporters from Indian community. Also present in the crowd was State Senator Ruben Kihuen and Swadeep Nigam, Commissioner, NV Equal Rights Commission. Swati Singh, Deputy Chief of Staff of Mark Hutchinson, Lt. Governor of Nevada presented a proclamation from the Lt. Governor. The Indian culturati were patrolling the grounds, mingling and partying with the attendees.
Bringing Indian mela to the community was a professionally executed team work by the dedicated volunteers from Baba Deep Singh Gurudwara. As per the Mela committee over sixty five hundred tickets were sold and the turnover was expected to be over ten thousand attendees. Previous research and analysis showed the attendees were divided into three groups – luncheon group with little kids, mostly non-Indians; second group of families who normally join after 4pm and stay till close; and the third group of individuals who come after work around 6 p.m. and stay late to enjoy dinner and entertainment. As per the committee members, this year mela, though short on time, generated enhanced revenues for all the participating restaurants. All the funds raised will go towards expansion of Guru Baba Deep Singh Gurudwara.
Please check out the pictures and commendable feedback from the attendees… https://www.facebook.com/lasvegasmela?fref=nf