Redmond City Hall (15670 NE 85th St.) will once again wear a festive look this summer, hosting the ninth Ananda Mela (Joyful Festival of India) on July 28-29. The free festival, suitable for all ages, will be held from noon to 8 p.m. both days.
Ananda Mela is one of the biggest festivals of Indian art and culture on the West Coast, and the largest cultural festival in Redmond. It is organized by theVedic Cultural Center (VCC) in Sammamish, under contract from the city of Redmond.
“Over the nine years, Ananda Mela has evolved into a great community builder, bringing the entire community together under the rich theme of Indian art and culture,” said Harry Terhanian, Ananda Mela’s president.
Washington State Arts Commissioner and Artistic Director and Director of Outreach and Development of Ananda Mela Latha Sambamurti said that festivals like Ananda Mela “are cultural bridges connecting people from diverse cultures.”
“Through a variety of experiences, contests with prizes, participatory activities, displays and stage entertainment, we strive to give Ananda Mela attendees lasting fond memories and enhanced mutual understanding, essential for forging a very strong community and nation,” she said.
This year, the festival will have a special display and presentation on ‘The Perfect Life,” “in which we show how various essential practices of the Vedic times enabled folks to maintain physical, mental and spiritual well-being,” Terhanian said.
Themes include arts and crafts, Ayurveda, natural healing, vegetarian diet and living in harmony with nature.
Entertainment will be presented on three stages all weekend, with performances by local, regional and international talent. Prime time entertainment is provided by international acts, starting at 6 p.m.
The Mayapuris, musicians and dancers from Utah, will perform on Saturday. Sunday’s prime time show is the ever-popular Bhangra-Celtic world fusion band from Vancouver, BC, Delhi 2 Dublin.
“During Delhi 2 Dublin’s performance on Sunday, don’t miss the Aloha Bhangra Dance Contest,” Sambamurti said.
The grand prize is a free two nights’ vacation for two to Hawaii. The second prize is a free, sought-after floor ticket to the live concert of A.R.Rahman, the internationally-celebrated, Oscar-winning Indian composer and musician, who will perform on Sept. 7 at the Angel of the Winds arena in Everett.
The festival will feature several contests for various age groups such as a cooking contest, chess contest, rangoli contest, henna contest, workshops on yoga, making pottery, making your own spices and more. For youngsters, there will be inflatables, bouncies, performances and engaging contests.
Finally, there will be shopping featuring Indian jewelry, saris and other attire, and vegetarian Indian food featuring an extensive variety of regions of India.
This year’s Ananda Mela is supported by a grant from ExperienceRedmond.com.