Thousands meet up for mela fun

VIDEO Crowds of up to 10,000 people joined in a celebration of Indian culture at Christchurch Park.

Naomi Cassidy

CROWDS of up to 10,000 people joined in a celebration of Indian culture at Christchurch Park.

Music and dancing from a range of local and national acts on the main stage was the focal point of the Indian Summer Mela yesterday as hoards of people gathered on the green to enjoy the free event.

Organised by the Ipswich and Suffolk Indian Association (ISIA), the day was designed to bring friends and family together for a day of fun.

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There were large marquees, packed full of delicious Asian cuisine, and dozens of community stalls from organisations including Ipswich Hospital, the Ipswich and East Suffolk Samaritans and The Environment Agency.

Mahesh Mistry, chairman of ISIA, said: “We had 8,000 people last year and we think it might be more like 10,000 people this year.

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“It is a real Suffolk event-not just Ipswich, and people have come from all over the region, as well as places like Luton and Colchester.

“It went really well.”

Anil Khosla, one of the founder members of the committee, which started 35 years ago, added: “Mela means 'meet' so this is all about people meeting up and enjoying themselves.

“It is much bigger than last year. Some people popped in to have a look and others came for the whole afternoon.”

This is the sixth year the event, which forms part of the Ip-art Festival, has been held, and the numbers of people flocking to it continues to grow every year.

Mayor of Ipswich David Hale, leader of Ipswich Borough Council Liz Harsant and Suffolk County Council leader Jeremy Pembroke were among the dignitaries that opened the event.

There were 50 stall holders along with six food caterers in the marquees and there was also a holistic tent, offering visitors the chance to try Reiki and Indian Head Massages.

Performances on the main stage included local acts Susy Jaison's Cinematic Hindi Dance Group and South Indian ballads by Vijayendra and Sridevi Kalabandi.

- How do you think the Ip-art Festival went this year? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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