This year’s Ananda Mela Joyful Festival of India will be Saturday and Sunday at Redmond City Hall, 15670 N.E. 85th St.
Now in its sixth year, the festival will be held from noon to 8:30 p.m. each day and is free and for all ages.
Ananda Mela is one of the biggest festivals of Indian art and culture in the Pacific Northwest, and is the largest cultural festival in Redmond, with more than 20,000 attendees expected for this weekend.
While the event will be at City Hall, Ananda Mela is put on annually by the Vedic Cultural Center (VCC) in Sammamish, whose mission is to preserve and promote traditional Indian arts, culture, cuisine, languages and literature.
“We have been forging a strong collaboration with the City of Redmond in presenting Ananda Mela,” said festival president Harry Terhanian. “This year we will have a special exhibit on Ramayana, one of two great timeless epics that have inspired India’s population for millennia.”
In addition to providing the venue, the city also provides staffing for the event for a fee (paid for by VCC), the city also assists with publicity and overall festival planning through collaborative work ahead of the festival.
This year’s festival attractions include two international musical acts. On Saturday, MC Yogi, an American musician and yogi from California will singing his Indian-themed songs at 6 p.m. On Sunday, festival veterans Delhi 2 Dublin, a celtic-Bhangra fusion band from Canada, will return to perform at 6 p.m.
There will also be an Aloha Bhangra Dance Contest for audience members dancing during Delhi 2 Dublin’s concert on Sunday. There will be various prizes including a grand prize of a free one-week vacation for two to Hawaii.
There will be additional musical and dance performances on two stages.
The festival will also feature a cooking contest in which contestants prepare and bring traditionally cooked Indian dishes. Attendees will also be able to sample regional Indian cuisine at food booths onsite.
For youngsters, there will be inflatables and various contest.
“We continue to maintain a healthy level of participatory events for attendees of all ages at Ananda Mela,” said Latha Sambamurti, artistic director for the festival. “We are retaining the popular contests introduced successfully in the previous years.”
Finally, there will be shopping, a sari-wearing booth, henna, astrology and displays on Indian art, culture and philosophy.