The fifth annual Ananda Mela Joyful Festival of India will be July 26-27.
This free, all-ages event will be from noon to 9 p.m. both days at Redmond City Hall, 15670 N.E. 85th St.
Since it began in 2010, the annual festival has grown into the biggest festival of Indian art and culture in the Pacific Northwest and the largest cultural festival in Redmond.
It is open to all ages and background and artistic director Latha Sambamurti said they expect more than 15,000 people to attend the festival.
Ananda Mela is organized by the Sammamish-based Vedic Cultural Center (VCC). The mission of VCC is to preserve and promote traditional Indian arts, culture, cuisine, languages and literature.
This year’s event will feature two internationally known artists, performing at 6 p.m. each evening. Saturday’s act will be En Karma, a live bhangra rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Sunday’s act will be DJ Prashant and Jai Ho! Dance Party for an evening of Bollywood music and dancing. There will also be music and dance performances throughout the weekend.
In addition, the festival’s activities will also include the Aloha Bhangra Dance Contest for audiences dancing at the main evening concerts. There will be daily prizes (gift certificates) as well as a grand prize of a free one-week vacation for two to Hawaii.
There will also be a cooking contest in which contestants prepare and bring traditionally cooked Indian dishes, as well as a chess competition and science and technology project contests for children. Other activities for children include bounce houses.
“We continue to increase participatory events at Ananda Mela by the way of many contests,” Sambamurti said. “We are retaining the popular contests introduced successfully in the previous years.”
Attendees will also have the opportunity to enjoy regional Indian food and shop for Indian art, clothing and more.
New this year will be magician Maritess Zurbano and a Brides of India Fashion Parade featuring women dressed in traditional bridal dresses from various parts of India.
Finally, Ananda Mela will feature an exhibit on Vedic (traditional Indian) village life, showing riverside physical setting and scenes of village activity.
Ananda Mela is supported by grants from 4Culture and ExperienceRedmond.com.